Thank you Craig Anderson

The Ottawa Senators announced that they would not be renewing the contract of Craig Anderson, Wednesday morning. This officially ends the 10-year run Anderson had with the team.

Craig Anderson was traded to Ottawa from Colorado to replace Brian Elliott back in the 2010-11 season. He would go on to play 435 regular season games and 40 playoff games for the Sens. Craig Anderson was able to stabilize the goaltending position in Ottawa after numerous years of different starting goaltenders.

Craig Anderson really burst onto the scene in Ottawa during the 2011-12 season, where he used his experience to win the starting position over Robin Lehner and Ben Bishop. That season, Craig played 63 games (which would be the most he ever played in one season for the Sens) and he helped carry the team to the playoffs in a year they were supposed to be rebuilding.

The following season, Craig Anderson would suffer a season ending injury but would come back the next year and eventually lead the Sens to two more playoff runs including the infamous 2017 cup run.

What most Sens fans will remember Craig Anderson for was his incredible performance in a shutout victory against the Edmonton Oilers in 2016. This was Anderson’s first game back after taking time away from hockey, to spend time with his wife Nicholle, who was battling cancer. That would be the same year that the Sens would reach the conference finals.

Craig Anderson would reach the heights of his career in Ottawa and helped stabilize the goaltending position for a decade. Despite a rocky start to his career, Anderson would prove to be a top 10 goaltender in his many seasons in Ottawa. Sens fans will always remember his time here and his work for the community. He and his family will always have a home here in Ottawa, and fans will always be grateful for his work on and off the ice.

The big question now is whether he is the greatest goaltender in franchise history. Sens fans will surely debate this for years to come.

On behalf of 613 Sports, I’d like to personally thank Craig for everything he did and we wish him the best in whatever the future holds.

The OHL has made Announcements about the 2020-21 season

The Ontario Hockey League has announced some important dates for the 2020-21 season that gives players and organizations some clarity on the upcoming campaign.

For the time being, the OHL is sticking with their previously announced start date of Tuesday, December 1st. We don’t yet know the schedule for the season, but we do know that teams will be playing 64 games, four games less than a normal schedule.

There are still things to do before the season starts, however. Training camps are slated to open on Sunday, November 15. Exhibition games will be played on the weekends of November 20-22nd and the 27-29th. Once again, the exact schedule for these exhibition games is not yet known.

The OHL trade deadline will be on February 10th, 2021 and could be a very important day for the Ottawa 67’s. The 67’s are in an awkward position where this season could go either way. They could be buyers and take a third crack at a Memorial Cup in three seasons or they could shut it down and be sellers at the deadline. The plan is very dependent on how the season goes leading up to the deadline, but only time will tell.

The season is currently expected to wrap up on April 29th, 2021 meaning the 67’s might be playing more weekday games then normal. There are a lot of games but, not a whole lot of time. Playoffs will begin on April 2nd, 2021 and will wrap up on June 14th, 2021. The Memorial Cup is scheduled to take place in either Sault Ste. Marie or Oshawa between June 17-27th.

The final date that was released was the OHL Priority Draft. The draft is scheduled to take place on May 8th, 2021 with the U-18 draft being on May 12th.

With the current global situation, none of this is set in stone and there could be changes should there be a need to do so. There was no mention of either fans in the stands for the season or what the plan is for the the three American teams but, it’s too early to know the full scope of the situation on those topics. OHL Insiders on Twitter is reporting that the OHL is looking at the option of Saginaw, Flint, and Erie playing one another and not crossing the border until it is deemed safe to do so.

I won’t get into if I think that’s a good idea or not, but this isn’t the most ideal situation. There are better ways to do this. Regardless, the OHL is in a tough spot. There are many unknowns about this upcoming season, but we do know one thing for sure, I will be right there along side you covering the Ottawa 67’s every step of the way! If you want more 67’s content, give me a follow on Twitter @HPR_Frankie13


La version française suit la version anglaise.

On the eve of the CanPL’s Island Games and 2020 Season Final, I am offering you my initial Atlético Ottawa Season Review. A second deeper analysis will be done later this Fall, informed by advanced statistics and analytics based on the data provided by the CanPL’s analytics arm, Centre Circle Data. / À la veille de la finale de la saison 2020 et des Island Games de la PLCan, je vous offre ma revue initiale de la courte saison d’Atlético Ottawa. Je vais vous offrir une analyse subséquente plus tard cette automne, qui sera informée par les statistiques avancées fournies par la section analytique de la PLCan, Centre Circle Data.

What was expected occurred. Atlético did not pass into the second round and finished 7th out of 8 in what was a very tight table.  But in the end, this team surprised us, as I had written before the start of the Island Games, and updated here.

We also thought that this was going to be Acuña’s team, and the team was indeed almost Acuñatico Ottawa.

And it took until the last game. A match-up against what proved to be a renewed, powerful HFX Wanderers side. Our team lost this ultimate challenge.

In the end, this team caused many surprises. Two of the losses were against the two Island Games and 2020 CanPL season finalists, Forge FC and HFX Wanderers.

A lot could have been better. This was expected. The red cards against York9 and Valour FC, and, in my opinion, the late draw against FC Edmonton is likely what cost a place in the CanPL ‘Final Four’.  If Atlético Ottawa had won that game against the Eddies, the team would have been in the final four. And this result would have exceeded anyone’s expectations but, sports are sports.

Although I am planning to do a deeper, advanced stats-based analysis, here are some of my views on Atlético Ottawa inaugural season.

Depth.  We can’t say it enough, and I’ll say it again. There is no doubt the lack of a deep bench is most likely the single factor that cost Atlético a place in the second stage. We could see the effects of changes to the starting XI. This lack of depth is definitely the cause of some of Ottléti’s draws and losses, notably after the two red cards.

The Strengths.  As I had written prior to the start of the season, Javier Acuña, Viti Martinez, Nacho Zabal, Malyk Hamilton, and to a lesser extent Ben Fisk, and Vashon Neufville were the heart of this team. And our entire backline (see below) with John and Kapor. These players must be back or replaced by same level quality.

But we must also give some credit to Mista. Yes, many criticized his changes, but again, depth issues influenced this. However, we must recognize his ability to shape his formations to the opponents, his ability to somewhat dictate the tempo of the games.

Surprises?  Well, we crushed Cavalry in the wind, tied York9 and Viti saved the season with a late goal against Pacific.

From a players’ perspective, some were somewhat expected to stand up, but some were definite surprises. First our backline. Some had condemned us on this. I had identified Brandon John as the key central defender. He did raise to the expectations, in very difficult circumstances, having lost his father in the middle of the tournament. Milan Kapor completed this line, and although we did not know much about him, and had a bad red card against Valour, he also rised to the moment. I would be very happy to see them stay with this team, as I am of the opinion that a lot start from the backline. Combined with two excellent full backs, this defensive line, with some depth added, could be one of the best in the league.

My friend Eddie will definitely disagree with me, but I liked Malcolm Shaw up top. I think that he lacked some support, but overall he created space for some plays to occur, which is important in this sport.

Despite his costly mistake against Halifax, Ben McKendry was solid when called upon, and if we can keep him as a depth player and occasional starter, all the best for this team.

NEGATIVES? Honestly, not a lot.

Although some said that Ben Fisk was a negative, I disagree.  Fisk covered a lot of ground on the left flank, and his best performances occurred when Neufville was in form. The latter’s reduced playing time after suffering an injury is somewhat a small negative from a player who created a lot of expectations, after he rocked the first game against York9.

I could say that Ajay Khabra was also a small negative, although I think he has the full potential to shine on this team. Mo Kourouma did score our first goal, but I think he was a negative afterwards, although I also think he can be a great for the team, but could be replaced by higher quality.

Same for Maksym Kowal, whom I think was a small negative despite limited game time (this explains that, right?), especially after rocking the pitch in League 1 Ontario. Jarred Phillips did what was expected of him. Not negative but not a surprise. On the right wing, I think we missed Dada-Luke, and I hope we will see him next year.

The youth has been somewhat of an (expected) negative. It’s clear to me that Antoine Coupland, as much as I love the kid, was not ready for prime time. My biggest negative was the lack of time for the youngsters, such as De Brienne and Djaozandry, but the coach must be trusted in his tactical decisions. This said, I think Facchineri did great when he was called to play.

The future…  Well, I don’t know what are our real gaps besides depth yet, and we will need to look at some advanced statistics a bit more. I think our backline is fine, but will require some depth, In the midfield, we need some depth to support Acuña and Viti as the anchor. This is likely what Tevin Shaw and Bernardinho would have brought, and their absence was felt, the reality of this weird year.  Finally, we clearly need to reinforce our offence. Although the club seemed to privilege a style which capitalized on opponents’ mistakes, and we were more often than not quite clinical, the offence will need some more power if we truly want to compete in this league.

In the end, a good season, a good result, and an excited fan base for the upcoming year.  Stay tuned!

Ce à quoi on s’attendait est arrivé. Atlético n’a pas réussi à passer en deuxième ronde, et a fini 7e sur 8, dans un classement très serré. Mais au bout de la ligne, cette équipe nous a surpris, comme je l’avais écrit en deux temps avant le début des Island Games, ici et ici.

Nous étions également beaucoup à penser que cette équipe allait être celle d’Acuña, et on nous a presque offert Acuñatico Ottawa.

Mais nous aurons attendu jusqu’au dernier match. Un duel contre un HFX Wanderers renouvelé et puissant. Notre équipe a perdu ce défi ultime.

Mais cette équipe aura causé plusieurs surprises malgré tout. Deux défaites on été contre les finalistes des Island Games et de la saison 2020 de la PLCan, Forge FC et HFX Wanderers.

Atlético aurait pu mieux faire, mais le résultat était attendu. Les deux cartons rouges contre York9 et Valour FC, et selon moi, la nulle tardive contre FC Edmonton auront couté aux Ottaviens une présence dans le tableau éliminatoire final.  Si Atlético Ottawa avait gagné le match contre les Eddies, nous aurions très probablement assisté à 3 matchs supplémentaires. Et ce résultat aurait certainement dépassé les attentes initiales de tous.

Bien que je compte faire une analyse plus poussée, basée sur les stats avancées, voici quelques pensées sur cette saison inaugurale d’Atlético Ottawa.

La profondeur. On ne peut assez le dire, et je vais le répéter encore. Il n’y a aucun doute que le manque de profondeur de l’équipe est le principal facteur qui a coûté Atlético une place dans la deuxième phase. Nous pouvions clairement voir la différence lorsque des changements étaient effectués. Ce manque de profondeur est définitivement la cause des nulles et défaites d’Ottléti, notamment lors des deux cartons rouges.

Les forces. Comme je l’avais écrit précédemment, Javier Acuña, Viti Martinez, Nacho Zabal, Malyk Hamilton, et dans une moindre mesure Ben Fisk et Vashon Neufville ont été le cœur de cette équipe. Et notre défensive (voir plus bas). Ces joueurs doivent absolument être de retour ou à tout le moins, remplacés par des joueurs du même niveau.

Nous devons également féliciter Mista. Plusieurs ont critiqué ses changements, mais encore, nous avons compris que son banc influençait ses décisions. Nous devons reconnaître son habileté à modifier sa formation contre l’adversaire en présence, et son habileté à être capable de dicter le tempo des matchs.

Des surprises? Bien, nous avons battu Cavalry les cheveux au vent, annulé contre York9 et Viti a sauvé la saison in-extremis contre Pacific.

Sur le plan des joueurs, nous nous attendions beaucoup de certains, mais d’autres ont été des révélations.

Premièrement, la défensive. On ne donnait pas cher de la peau d’Atléti. J’avais déjà identifié Brandon John comme notre défenseur central clé. Il s’est levé, dans des circonstances très difficiles, ayant perdu son père en plein milieu du tournoi. Bien que nous n’en savions peu sur Milan Kapor et qu’il a eu un mauvais rouge contre Valour, il a aussi saisi le moment. Je serais très content de voir les deux revenir avec l’équipe, comme je crois beaucoup qu’une équipe se bâtit à partir de la ligne arrière. En plus de deux excellent latéraux, notre ligne défensive, en y ajoutant un peu de profondeur, pourrait être une des meilleures de la ligue.

Mon ami Eddie sera totalement en désaccord avec moi, mais j’ai bien aimé Malcolm Shaw en avant. Je crois toutefois qu’il a manqué de soutien, mais il a créé de l’espace, ce qui a créé des jeux, un aspect important de ce sport. 

Malgré son erreur contre Halifax, Ben McKendry est aussi une surprise. Il était solide lorsque sélectionné et du XI partant, et si nous pouvons le garder comme joueur de profondeur et partant occasionnel, ce serait pour le mieux de cette équipe.

Déceptions? Honnêtement, pas beaucoup.

Bien que certains aient avancé que Fisk fut une déception, je ne suis pas d’accord. Fisk a couvert beaucoup de terrain sur le flanc gauch, et ses meilleures performances offensives étaient lorsque Neufville était en forme.  D’ailleurs, le temps de jeu limité de ce dernier, suite à une blessure est une déception générale pour un joueur de qui on attendait beaucoup, surtout après son premier match fantastique contre York9.

Je pourrais aussi dire qu’Ajay Khabra a été une petite déception, même si je crois qu’il a le potentiel d’être une bonne solution pour l’équipe. Mo Kourouma a bien compté le premier but de l’histoire, mais je crois qu’il a déçu par la suite. Bien qu’il serait très bien avec l’équipe, il pourrait être remplacé par un joueur de meilleure qualité. Même chose pour Maksym Kowal, qui m’a également déçu malgré un temps de jeu limité (ceci explique aussi cela), spécialement après avoir dominé en League 1 Ontario. Jarred Phillips a fait ce que nous attendions de lui, donc pas nécessairement une grande déception, mais pas non plus une suprise. Sur le flanc droit, je crois que Dada-Luke nous a manqué, et j’espère le voir l’an prochain.

Je pourrais aussi dire qu’Ajay Khabra a été une petite déception, même si je crois qu’il a le potentiel d’être une bonne solution pour l’équipe. Mo Kourouma a bien compté le premier but de l’histoire, mais je crois qu’il a déçu par la suite. Bien qu’il serait très bien avec l’équipe, il pourrait être remplacé par un joueur de meilleure qualité. Même chose pour Maksym Kowal, qui m’a également déçu malgré un temps de jeu limité (ceci explique aussi cela), spécialement après avoir dominé en League 1 Ontario. Jarred Phillips a fait ce que nous attendions de lui, donc pas nécessairement une grande déception, mais pas non plus une suprise. Sur le flanc droit, je crois que Dada-Luke nous a manqué, et j’espère le voir l’an prochain.

Les jeunes ont été une déception, selon moi. Il est clair qu’Antoine Coupland, que j’aime voir, n’était pas prêt à prendre le rôle qu’on lui a donné. Mais ma grande déception a été le peu de temps donné à certains jeunes, notamment Djaozandry et De Brienne, mais l’entraîneur a très probablement pris les bonnes décisions tactiques en cours de match. Ceci dit, je crois que Facchineri a très bien fait lorsqu’il a été appelé sur le terrain.

Le futur… Je ne sais pas exactement ce qui manque à l’équipe – outre la profondeur présentement – et je dois faire une analyse de statistiques avancées un peu plus poussée.  Je crois que notre ligne arrière est solide, et sera meilleure avec un peu de profondeur. Au milieu, il y a un besoin de profondeur pour offrir un peu de soutien supplémentaire à Acuña et Viti. Je crois que la solution est bien Tevin Shaw et Bernardinho, dont l’absence s’est fait sentir, une des réalités de cette année bizzare. Et finalement, le club devra renforce son attaque. Bien que nous avons semblé privilégier un style qui capitalisait sur les erreurs de l’adversaire, et que nous avons souvent été très précis, notre offensive devra se renforcer si l’équipe veut vraiment être compétitive en 2021.

En gros, une bonne saison, un bon résultat, et un groupe de partisans excités pour la prochaine saison.  Restez à l’écoute!

2020 Fantasy Hype Video

Year one complete; Blackjacks’ in for bright future in CEBL

Since being named a team in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) on the first of November, the Blackjacks have been at the top of their game. Starting off great with some key staff hires in both Dave Smart and Osvaldo Jeanty and now finishing their first season as semi- finalists the city of Ottawa is in for a great future in professional basketball.

Ottawa Blackjacks to leap into action next spring | CBC News

Unfortunately since the season concluded in early August, the team lost Dave Smart as GM but with what the team was able to do with the players they had in their inaugural season, we could definitely see something special come out of the Blackjacks in 2021. In year one, things were different due to COVID-19, only playing 8 games compared to a regular season of 20+ games which they will have in 2021.

Ottawa BlackJacks Drop CEBL Franchise opener to Guelph Nighthawks - Canada,  Canadian Basketball, NBA, NCAA, FIBA, HS, U Sports

Leading the Blackjacks into their early success was Thomas Scrubb, who led the team with 15 points per game and 6.9 rebounds a game while he had help from the team’s top passer Olivier Hanlan and the CEBL’s Most Outstanding rookie Lloyd Pandi who had averaged 1.3 steals. Among those named was also Canadians Shaquille Keith and Eric Kibi who were both averaging over 5 rebounds a game in the tournament.

THAT'S ALL, FOLKS: BlackJacks' tournament run ends with semifinal loss |  Wallaceburg Courier Press

All in all, year one was a success, with only seeing 8 games played the team was able to go 4-4 and in the 4 wins they had they looked like the best team in the league so with out a doubt, if Jeanty and a few of the players stick around for year 2 in Ottawa the team has a good shot at a championship, especially with the young talent they have.

Should the Sens trade for Lafrenière? Ft. Craig Button

After the NHL’s play-in round concluded, the phase two lottery was finally completed and the New York Rangers won the rights to the first overall pick. This will most likely result in the Rangers selecting consensus top prospect, Alexis Lafrenière. With the plethora of draft picks and assets the Sens have right now, speculation has been running wild about the possibility of the team trading up for first overall, which is not uncommon for this time of year. 

While possible scenarios and hypothetical trades have been thrown around left and right, it seems as only Sens fans are asking does this even make sense? 

Ridiculous trades like this keep on getting thrown around and picking up traction. Eugene Melnyk was quick to shut down these rumors as he said “the idea of trading our third and fifth picks for the No. 1 pick is nonsensical,” in an article by Bruce Garrioch. 

While as of right now it seems like all of this is just rumors in the wind with no traction, stranger things have happened in Sens land over the past decade. The team certainly has the assets to pull off a move up the draft board, but is it worth it? To answer the question, I enlisted the help of TSN’s Craig Button for some more knowledgeable insight on this draft and where the value lies. 

To first get a sense of how this draft stacks up compared to recent years, I asked him how Lafrenière ranks compared to recent first overall picks. 

“Going back 10 years, we’ve put Lafrenière behind the three M’s, McDavid, MacKinnon and Matthews. For first overalls, he falls into that next category of player. I think he’s the best player in the draft but he’s not McDavid, he’s not Crosby, but I think he’s a star player,” said Button. 

Comparing Lafrenière to the rest of the field Button said, “with three and five, you’re getting high quality players. That means a first line player, whether that’s a center or a winger, a number one defenseman in either Drysdale or Sanderson, and if you want a goalie Askarov is a number one franchise goalie in my view. Any of the top prospects in that range, [the Sens] are getting a high quality top line player.” 

Jamie Drysdale of Team Red skates during the 2020 CHL/NHL Top ...

Button said, there is no gap in quality of Lafrenière compared to the combination of players the Sens will be able to select at three and five, “you’re getting two high quality players instead of one, three and five is way better than having first. I’d absolutely consider having three and five more valuable than first, it’s not Mario Lemieux or Connor McDavid or Sidney Crosby.”

When asked if he would make the move of trading three and five for first overall if he was GM of the Senators he said there was no way, and emphasized someone would have to vastly overpay for those two picks if he was to even consider it. 

Draft Year#1 Pick#3 and 5 picks
2010T. HallE. Gudbranson, N. Niederreiter
2011R. Nugent-HopkinsJ.Huberdeau, R. Strome
2012N. YakupovA. Galchenyuk, M. Rielly
2013N. MacKinnonJ. Drouin, E. Lindholm
2014A. EkbladL. Draisaitl, M. Dal Colle
2015C. Mcdavid D. Strome, N. Hanifin 
2016A. Matthews P. Dubois, O. Juolevi
2017N. HischierM. Heiskanen, E. Pettersson
2018R. DahlinJ. Kotkaniemi, B. Hayton
2019J. HughesK. Dach, A. Turcotte 

Based on the past ten years of drafts and how first overall has turned out compared to third and fifth combined, as well as Craig Button’s arguments against trading the picks I have to lean towards the side of not trading up for first with three and five. The Sens will have the opportunity to select some potentially elite players with those picks that will greatly help the rebuild. What do you think the Sens should do with their picks? Let us know in the comments or on our Twitter!

Lack of discipline proves the demise for Atlético Ottawa

Lack of discipline reared its ugly head once again in Atlético Ottawa’s 2nd ever game as they took on Valour FC. With Vashon Neufville serving a one-game suspension, head coach Mista had to change the lineup a little by bringing on Kourouma and McKendry. If fans were looking for a repeat of the first half from the game vs York, they were quite disappointed as Ottawa preferred to sit back in this first half and invite pressure from Valour. While Kourouma was trying his best to fill the gap on the left side, it was quite evident that Neufville was missed as almost all of Valour’s first-half opportunities came from that side. If it wasn’t for Nacho Zabal’s heroics, Ottawa could have been down 4-0 in the first half alone! 

Atlético Ottawa came out much stronger in the second half and had a flurry of chances, with Ben Fisk hitting the post early on. However, this would be the closest Ottawa would get to scoring as once again for the second straight game, Ottawa received a red card from a second yellow and had to finish off the game with ten men. Valour proceeded to score four unanswered goals to hand Atlético Ottawa their first-ever beating.  

The Negatives

Lack of discipline is the biggest storyline from this game. In the 7th minute of play, Milovan Kapor NFL tackled an opposing player and received a yellow card. It was a very unneeded tackle early on and it proved to be disastrous as in the 63rd minute he fouled an opposing player again, but this time in the box. He received his second yellow of the game and Valour would proceed to score on the ensuing penalty. 

This is the second straight game that Ottawa has had to finish with 10 men and it has dropped them points already. While playing 11v11 Ottawa has yet to concede and has a total score of 2-0. However, while playing a man down, Ottawa is 0-6. Valour could not score a goal until the 63rd minute and the way Ottawa was playing, it was looking like they could snatch a victory. For a team that has a severe lack of depth, if this lack of discipline continues, this will be a very short tournament as we keep throwing games away with avoidable mistakes. 

The Positives

Antoine Coupland made his first appearance in the Canadian Premier League and that shows a lot for the confidence Mista has in this young star. The biggest positive, however, was the play from Nacho Zabal. If anyone was questioning his age, he proved everyone wrong with his spectacular saves today. The team owes him a nice dinner for even keeping the score at 4-0 because it could have been much worse. Having a great goalkeeper is a fantastic foundation block for a team. Hopefully, he won’t have to be as active in future games. 

Final Thoughts

It was a decent game up until the red card. I personally thought that Ottawa was playing too deep and was allowing too many opportunities. For a team playing with that many men deep, Valour was getting way too many open chances inside the 18-yard box, and it appeared the defenders didn’t know who was covering who. It’s evident that the lack of game practice is the reason behind this. When Ottawa did decide to go forward and attack, they looked very dangerous and had some glorious chances. Moving forward to the Edmonton game, I am not too worried. Ottawa looked pretty decent in these past 2 games and have only dropped points because of lack of discipline. If we are able to finish the game with 11 men, I strongly believe we can send our good ol’ buddies out west home crying. 

We move. Onto the next game. VAMOS OTTAWA.