Breaking down the perfect NHL playoff bracket

Hockey has been back for the past few weeks and Tuesday afternoon the real playoffs will finally get underway! With that in mind, it is once again bracket challenge season; you can join our 613 Sports league here. Our bracket and picks for the playoffs are as follows: 

Western Conference

Robin Lehner of the Vegas Golden Knights pushes the puck past the ...

#1 Vegas vs #8 Chicago

This series shouldn’t be all that close, but as seen in the play-in round anything is possible. Vegas matches up well offensively with the Hawks, but has much better goaltending and defense. Vegas takes this series in four games. 

#2 Colorado vs #7 Arizona

Colorado is one of the most explosive offensive teams in the league this season led by superstar Nathan Mackinnon and his excellent supporting cast like Rantanen and Landeskog. While Kuemper has the ability to steal a game or two for the desert dogs, they are simply outmatched by the Avalanche. Colorado in six.

#3 Dallas vs #6 Calgary 

I see this series as a toss up. Calgary looked impressive against the Jets, but the Jets were missing their #1 center and a valuable winger for most of the series. This series will come down to how fast Seguin and Bishop can get healthy, and contribute for the Stars. At the end of the day, the Stars depth and goaltending edge out the Flames in a best of seven. Stars in seven.

#4 St. Louis vs #5 Vancouver 

If this series had happened BEFORE the 100+ day COVID break, I would’ve picked St. Louis and it wouldn’t be close. However, since the return to play has started, their on-ice performance has been less than spectacular. Whereas, the Canucks’ young core must be feeling pretty good about themselves after dealing with the Wild pretty easily. The experience and physicality of the Blues will prove to be too much for the young Canucks. Blues in six.

Eastern Conference

#1 Philadelphia vs #8 Montreal 

Montreal was able to surprise Pittsburgh with some help from Price in goal and pull off a huge upset to get into the playoffs. That won’t be the case against a Flyers team that has looked dominant since coming back from the break. Philly in five. 

#2 Tampa Bay vs #7 Columbus

First of all, HAHAHAHAHA THE LEAFS SUCK!! Ok now that we’ve got that out of the way, Tampa gets a chance to redeem themselves after getting swept by Columbus in the first round last year. Tampa will be fired up and hungry to silence their critics and should take care of business pretty easily here as long as Hedman and Stamkos get back to the lineup soon. Columbus will put up a good fight though, Tampa in six. 

#3 Washington vs #6 New York Islanders 

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Washington has to be fired up after getting swept last year in the playoffs. However, they have not looked good at all since returning to play. This one has the making of an upset given the stout defensive style Trotz has the Isles playing, as well as his deep knowledge of the Capitals team. The Islanders are able to pull off a big upset here and beat the Capitals in seven. 

#4 Boston vs #5 Carolina 

This series could be a crazy one compared to expectations for these teams a few months ago. In the regular season Boston was dominant and were looking poised to repeat as Eastern Conference champions and take another stab at the Stanley Cup. Since then they have looked horrible in their round robin games having not won a single game. On the other hand, the Hurricanes absolutely dominated the Rangers and are ROLLING right now.  So much so that the Canes “upset” the Bruins in six games. 

*Since all picks past this point are purely speculation there won’t be too much analysis on the selections* 

Round 2

Western Conference 

#1 Vegas vs #4 St. Louis 

Vegas keeps rolling after a strong start and is able to eliminate the defending champs.

#2 Colorado vs #3 Dallas 

The Avs prove to be too much for a Dallas team that barely squeaks out of round one and are able to take care of business pretty easily. Colorado wins this series.

Eastern Conference 

#1 Philadelphia vs #6 New York 

Like Vegas, Philly keeps on rolling and can’t be stopped ending the playoff hopes of Pageau and the Isles. 

#2 Tampa Bay vs #5 Carolina 

Tampa is out to prove themselves this year and can’t be stopped. They beat the Canes in this series. 

Conference Finals 

#1 Vegas vs #2 Colorado 

Vegas goaltending will be the difference maker in this series as the teams are pretty even otherwise. In what is an instant classic series, Vegas is able to pull off the victory and another Stanley Cup Final appearance. 

#1 Philadelphia vs #2 Tampa Bay 

While Philly is putting together something special, this is finally Tampa’s year after they pull off the victory in a long hard fought series. 

Cup Final 

#1 Vegas vs #2 Tampa Bay 

Tampa Bay is finally able to put it all together and are able to win the COVID Cup! Vegas will have to wait a little longer for their first Stanley Cup victory. 

This has been our bracket, let us know who you think will win the cup this year and who your biggest sleeper is! 

Update : Atlético Season Preview / Mise à jour: La saison d’Atlético

Atlético Ottawa announced six new players today, all of them Canadians, who all come with experience, either here in Canada, but mostly abroad. It’s clear that an update to my last article was not only predictable, it is now necessary!

Atlético added goalkeeper Horace Sobze Zemo, fullback Jarred Phillips, centre back Milovan Kapor, midfielder Ben McKendry, and two forwards: Mohamed Kourouma and Maksym Kowal.

The new players – who all trained with the team since its return to training – add two importants aspects to this team.

First, it’s clear that with a 20-player squad in Charlottetown (Kunle Dada-Luke did not travel with the team), Atlético now has a certain level of depth that will provide Mista with more option, either in his starting eleven, but also from the bench. These options are now clearer across the pitch, which will be way better with games that allow five subs. Also, the signature of two strikers / forwards add an offensive touch to this team.

Having recently played in the Uzbek First Division, and having mostly played in Eastern Europe (and Israel) since 2014, Milovan Kapor will likely be a regular starter on the backline with Brandon John, who will likely remain the team’s defensive pillar. Gianfranco Facchineri will likely be a rotational starter, especially to meet the U21 minutes requirements. There will be a good competition for a starter post as centre backs, without forgetting the totally viable option for this team to play a 5-men defence.

Fullback Jarred Phillips also offers additional options to Mista. The former League 1 Ontario player will most likely support Malyk Hamilton and Vashon Neufville on the defensive flanks.  He can definitely case a surprise in PEI and become a regular starter, likely replacing Neufville.

In the midfield, Ottléti recruited a good player in Ben McKendry. The central midfielder will partially resolve the concern I was highlighting earlier in this location. Another Whitecaps Academy product, McKendry recently played in Sweden and Finland. He will most likely reinforce Viti and Khabra in the centre.

Forward looking, the addition of the former League 1 Ontario top scorer, who also scored 12 in 34 games in the New Zealand Premiership, Maksym Kowal brings a definite offensive punch to this team. The addition of Mo Kourouma adds to this punch as well. The former Haligonian was criticized for his lack of production last year, but he could bring a certain level of danger on the left. The key question: Will we see the Canadian Championship Mo Kourouma or the CanPL one?

Obviously, adding those two Canadiens offers Mista more offensive flexibility, especially during the game. I still believe that Malcolm Shaw could be the offensive surprise, although the two new guys bring a lot for Ottawa.

The addition of Horace Sobze Zemo, from Gatineau, as third keeper also adds flexibility, although I don’t expect him to see minutes in Charlottetown.

I believe overall that the team will now be more balanced, but above all, more offensive than initially thought. Although I still see a club that will play a tight defensive game, the addition of offensive power, and the depth reinforcing the defence and the midfield should increase Atlético’s chances in exploiting the opponents’ mistakes and rapidly launch counters.

Also, these add-ons bring experience and a certain resilience level, with players who have played across the world, in often difficult conditions. I think that this aspect potentially strengthens the Atléti philosophy – already present – to win against adversity.

With only four players having previously played in CanPL, and half the squad having played outside of North America last year, I remain firm on my previous conclusions. Atlético Ottawa may well surprise us. The dependency on the young folks having slightly diminished with the club adding a good level of experience, the club’s surprise factor has increased exponentially.  After all, this game is not only about this and this player, it’s about the coherence and cohesion of the eleven on the pitch and those that will sub them.

Let’s also note that the confirmed absence of Kunle Dada-Luke reduces Mista’s flexibility on both the right flank and with the use of U-21s. Hamilton should be the U-21 that will accumulate the most minutes, followed by Facchinerri. Coupland and de Brienne will complete this select club, and will have to contribute some more minutes to the total. We should see both the latter as subs, depending on the flow of the games.

My initial guess for the first game starting eleven? Zabal, Neufville, Kapor, John, Hamilton, Viti, McKendry, Khabra, Acuna, Fisk, M. Shaw.

*Canadians are in bold and red. The team needs a minimum of six on its starting XI.

Atlético Ottawa a annoncé six nouveaux joueurs lundi dernier, tous Canadiens, et qui arrivent tous avec de l’expérience, soit au pays, mais aussi à l’étranger. Il était clair qu’une mise à jour de mon dernier article est nécessaire (et prévisible!). 

Atlético a ajouté le gardien Horace Sobze Zemo, le latéral Jarred Phillips, le défenseur central Milovan Kapor, le milieu Ben McKendry, et deux attaquants : Mohamed Kourouma et Maksym Kowal.

Les nouveaux joueurs – qui se sont entraînés avec l’équipe depuis le retour à l’entraînement – ajoutent deux aspects importants pour Atlético Ottawa.

Premièrement, il est évident qu’avec maintenant un effectif de 20 joueurs à Charlottetown (Kunle Dada-Luke n’a pas fait le voyage), l’équipe possède maintenant un certain niveau de profondeur qui donnera à Mista plusieurs options, dans son onze partant et à partir du banc. Les options sont maintenant plus claires partout sur le terrain, ce qui sera idéal dans des matchs avec cinq remplaçants.  De plus, la signature de deux attaquants de pointe apporte un punch offensif additionnel à l’équipe.

Ayant récemment joué en première division ouzbèque et ayant surtout roulé sa bosse dans des ligues en Europe de l’Est (et Israël) depuis 2014, Milovan Kapor sera très probablement un partant régulier avec Brandon John qui devrait demeurer le pilier défensif de l’équipe. Gianfranco Facchineri devrait toutefois être un partant en rotation, afin de rencontrer les besoin de minutes chez les U-21.  Il y aura donc une compétition saine dans l’axe défensif, sans oublier l’option totalement probable de jouer avec une défense à 5.

Jarred Phillips, un latéral, offre également plusieurs options. L’ancien de League 1 Ontario secondera Malyk Hamilton et Vashon Neufville sur les côtés. Il pourrait défintivement causer la surprise et devenir un partant régulier à l’I.P.-E, en remplacement de Neufville.

Au milieu, un bon coup d’Ottléti¸ c’est la signature de Ben McKendry. Le milieu central viendra partiellement régler l’inquiétude que je soulignais avec notre milieu. Autre produit de l’Académie des Whitecaps, McKendry a récemment joué en Suède et Finlande. Il viendra certainement renforcer Viti et Khabra au centre.

Maintenant, vers l’avant, l’ajout de l’ancien champion marqueur de League 1 Ontario et auteur de 12 buts en 34 matchs en Nouvelle-Zélande, Maksym Kowal amène un punch offensif certain à l’équipe.  L’ajout de Mo Kourouma ajoute encore à l’offensive. L’ancien d’Halifax a été critiqué pour son manque de production, mais il pourrait amener un certain niveau de danger sur la gauche. À quoi s’attendre? Le Mo Kourouma du Championnat Canadien ou celui de la PLCan?

Évidemment, l’ajout de ces deux Canadiens offre maintenant à Mista davantage de flexibilité offensive, particulièrement en cours de match.  Je crois toujours que Malcolm Shaw pourrait être la surprise offensive, bien que ces deux nouveaux amènent beaucoup pour Ottawa.

L’ajout d’Horace Sobze Zemo, de Gatineau, comme troisième gardien ajoute à la profondeur, bien que je ne croie pas qu’il verra des minutes à Charlottetown.

Donc, je crois maintenant que l’équipe sera un peu plus balancée, et surtout un peu plus offensive. Bien que j’entrevois encore une défense très serrée pour Ottawa, l’ajout de puissance offensive en pointe et les renforts en défense et au milieu devrait augmenter les chances d’Atlético de profiter des erreurs des adversaires et de monter des contre-attaques rapides.

De plus, ces ajouts amènent de l’expérience, mais aussi un certain niveau de résilience à l’équipe, avec des joueurs ayant joué aux quatre coins du monde, dans des conditions souvent difficiles. Je crois que ceci renforce potentiellement la philosophie atléticienne – déjà présente – de vaincre l’adversité.

Avec seulement quatre joueurs ayant précédemment joué en PLCan, et 10 joueurs ayant joué hors de l’Amérique du Nord l’an dernier, je demeure ferme sur mes conclusions précédentes. Atlético Ottawa pourrait très bien nous surprendre. La dépendance sur les jeunes ayant été légèrement réduite, et le club ayant ajouté un bon niveau d’expérience, le potentiel de surprise de ce club vient définitivement d’augmenter exponentiellement. Après tout, ce sport n’est pas à propos de tel ou tel joueur, mais plutôt à propos de la cohésion et de la cohérence entre les onze joueurs sur le terrain, et les remplaçants.

Notons finalement que l’absence confirmée de Kunle Dada-Luke réduit la flexibilité de Mista en ce qui a trait à l’utilisation des U-21. Hamilton devrait être celui qui contribue le plus de minutes, suivi de Facchinerri. Coupland et de Brienne compléteront le quatuor, mais devront certainement contribuer davantage au total, et nous devrions voir les deux comme remplaçants.

Mon XI partant pour le premier match de la saison? Zabal, Neufville, Kapor, John, Hamilton, Viti, McKendry, Khabra, Acuna, Fisk, Shaw.

*Les joueurs canadiens sont en gras/rouge. Il en faut six minimum dans le XI de départ.

Atlético Season Preview: Surprise Us! / La saison d’Atlético Ottawa: Surprenez-nous!

La version française suit la version anglaise

With the Canadian Premier League (CanPL)’s Island Games Tournament starting this week, it is time for a preview of Atlético Ottawa.

With a squad that still appears incomplete – at least officially as of today – and frankly, many unknowns with the players recruited by Mista and Fernando López. The only thing we can expect from this team, at this point is to…surprise us.

Nevertheless, I will try to do a short overview of the team that will start this week.

Key Players

Mista was definitely trying to build its club around some key players before facing the difficulties that came with the pandemic.

First, the former Liga MX player, Francisco Acuña is the foundation of this club. The experienced offensive midfielder will bring a spark to this club, and is definitely its best player at this stage. He may play as False 9, or more likely on the right wing. But his essential role? Big brother to all the young Ottawans.

Young Catalan defensive midfielder Victor ‘Viti’ Martinez is also key to this roster, and will most likely be employed as its ‘6’. He recently played for Gimnástic de Tarragona, appearing in both second and third Spanish division. He will be key in the centre, and maybe even as a central back if it’s needed. And is there something more Spanish than having a nickname like Viti on the back of a shirt?

Atlético Ottawa’s captain, Canadian Ben Fisk will also be key to this squad. He brings the CanPL experience, having been essential to Pacific FC last year. His offensive flair on the left wing will be one of Ottawa’s key asset.

Ottawa is in a relatively good position with full backs Malyk Hamilton and Vashon Neufville. These two – Canadian and English respectively – will be essential to build from the flanks and support the offensive.

Little has been said about Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Zabal. The Spanish veteran, who recently played in third division will be critical between the posts. I think that he will be essential for Ottléti’s success (or not). Gomes could certainly steal the job if Mista’s plan does not work.

The Support Players

I use very liberally the term support players. In fact, with the young guys, the following players will be those who make or break Atlético Ottawa’s success.

Ajay Khabra should probably be in the section above. Central or right midfielder, experienced in the CanPL with the Eddies, he will bring the possession aspect to the team, and an offensive touch, most likely supporting Acuña and Hamilton. 

Centre Back Brandon John will be the defensive key of this club. The only natural centre back officially signed by Atlético, he will see a lot of minutes, and should be a guide to Facchineri.

Malcolm Shaw may likely be Ben Fisk’s sub, or could even be employed as striker. Having recently played in Sweden, he could well be a surprise in this tournament.

Kunle Dada-Luke, a Canadian winger, and a TFC product, coming to Ottawa from the Danish Third Division could well be employed on the right wing, either on the wing or as right back).  He may well be a main source for the CanPL’s U21 minutes requirement.

Michel Djaozandry, hailing from Trois-Rivières, and an IMFC Academy product is a mystery to most. Having played in PLSQ, he may be a sub on the flanks or in the midfield.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see him steal a starting job during the tournament.

Keeper Ricky Gomes should be on the bench, but it is possible to see him as starter to meet the CanPL’s Canadian starters requirements if needed. Having been part of FC Porto’s Academy, and having played in Portugal and Scotland, he could surprise and steal Zabal’s spot.

The Youth

The young guns will have to take (and make) their place in this squad, especially with the U21 minutes requirement. In fact, with Hamilton and Dada-Luke, the young guys may well be the surprise that Ottawa brings to the Island Games.

Gianfranco Facchineri will almost certainly be a starter as centre back, and will accumulate the U21 minutes with Dada-Luke and Hamilton. On loan from Whitecaps, the MLS’ team’s goal is certainly to have one of their key prospect play a lot.

Antoine Coupland, already an Ottawa favourite, may see some minutes on the right, in an offensive role. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as a ‘super sub’. The 16-year old’s recruitment by Atlético Ottawa is not surprising given his long-term potential. After giving some impressive short minutes with Fury FC last year, he could definitely surprise us (and other teams) if he can adapt to the CanPL’s physical game.

Matteo de Brienne is the last signature for the Rojiblancos Canadienses. A local product from Ottawa South United, now with the Whitecaps Academy, he could see some minutes. Along with Coupland, he is definitely something to follow once the tournament starts.

The Gaps

Obviously, Ottawa arrives on the Island without an official full squad – so far. While we are still waiting on some signatures to complete the lineup, the bench appears short. On top of that, we know it, both Bernardinho and Tevin Shaw are still stuck in their home countries, having been unable to travel. Those two were to be key elements for Ottawa.

There may well be a lack of depth that will limit Mista’s flexibility, a gaffer with still limited experience. The CanPL’s level may surprise him, especially without preparatory games. Add the potential for injuries, caused by a potentially compressed calendar, and an overused artificial university pitch, which may not be to the foreign players’ liking, the Spaniard’s task may be complex.

My main concern is about the defence, especially facing Forge, York, and Pacific (and even Cavalry, maybe). Although we appear to have a quite robust starting 11, Ottawa’s lack of depth (and hence options) may be tricky, especially with the potential for five subs.  With the current squad, any change in the central defence will create a hole somewhere. An additional concern is the midfield. Mista appeared to build his team around this, but the absence of some players, and the recruitment difficulties during the pandemic may have created a difficult situation for Atlético.

Obviously, there may be relief coming down our way.  There are many rumours circulating about additional signings, including Maskym Kowal, Mohamed Kourouma and Stefan Karajovanovic. We will review our article once we know more about new signings, but expect most of those to be young players and support players that will add depth to the squad, and lenghten the bench, providing more options.  

The Game Plan

What can we expect to see? With Fury last year, we knew that we would see a possession-based team. I won’t put a starting eleven online at this point, but this will come later this week, pending new signings.

Should we expect to see an Ottléti playing style influenced by the big club’s DNA?  The tough game, an intense grinta and a 11-player defence?  I definitely expect to see some of this for sure. With some gaps in the defence and midfield, I anticipate to see all players deeply involved in countering the opponents’ attacks and especially to be ready to capitalize on mistakes made by the other side. 

What is clear is that Atlético Ottawa is in a typical Madrilenian situation: they are facing a good level adversity, something CEO Fernando López subtely noted on Twitter this week.  Like the Big Brother recently did against Liverpool, Atlético Ottawa could surprise us. Defend, defend, defend, and suddenly, use the small mistake to their advantage, and break the opponent’s heart.

Please, surprise us (and sign more players)!

Le tournoi Island Games de la Première ligue canadienne (PLCan) débutant cette semaine, il est temps pour un aperçu d’Atlético Ottawa.

L’équipe apparaît toujours comme incomplète, du moins officiellement. De plus, il y a plusieurs inconnus parmi les joueurs recrutés par Mista et Fernando López. La seule chose à laquelle on peut s’attendre avec cette équipe, c’est qu’elle nous surprenne.

Malgré tout, je vais tenter de faire un tour d’horizon de l’équipe qui débutera cette semaine. 

Les valeurs sûres

Le club aligne quelques valeurs sûres sur lesquelles Mista allait s’appuyer avant d’avoir les difficultés inhérentes à la pandémie.

Premièrement, l’ancien de Puebla FC en Liga MX, le mexicain Francisco Acuña est clairement la pierre angulaire du club. Le milieu offensif d’expérience apportera une étincelle à l’équipe, dont il est probablement le meilleur joueur à ce stade. Il devrait évoluer en faux 9, ou très probablement sur l’aile droite. Mais son rôle essentiel: grand frère des jeunes joueurs ottaviens.

Le jeune milieu défensif catalan Victor ‘Viti’ Martínez est également clé pour l’équipe, et sera surtout employé en position de ‘6’.  Ayant récemment joué avec Gimnástic de Tarragona en deuxième et troisième division espagnole, Viti sera essentiel comme pivot central, et peut-être même en défense centrale au besoin. Et quoi de plus espagnol que de voir un surnom tel que Viti en arrière d’un chandail.

Le capitaine de la franchise, le Canadien Ben Fisk sera également clé. Il amène l’expérience de la PLCan, ayant été un joueur essentiel pour Pacific FC l’an dernier. Sa puissance offensive sur l’aile gauche sera définitivement un atout pour Ottawa.

Atlético Ottawa est en bonne posture avec les latéraux Malyk Hamilton et Vashon Neufville. Ces deux éléments – canadien et anglais  respectivement – seront clés pour bâtir le jeu sur les flancs et soutenir l’offensive.

Peu a été mentionné à propos d’Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Zabal. Le vétéran espagnol provenant de troisième division espagnole sera clé entre les poteaux. Selon moi, il sera essentiel au succès (ou non) défensif d’Ottléti. Son poste sera à ravir par Gomes si le plan de Mista ne fonctionne pas.

Les joueurs de soutien

J’utilise ici le terme ‘joueur de soutien’ de façon très libérale. En fait, avec les jeunes, les joueurs suivants seront très probablement ceux qui permettront le succès (ou non) du club ottavien.

Ajay Khabra devrait probablement être dans la section du haut. Milieu central (ou droit), experimenté en PLCan avec les Eddies, il apporte l’aspect possession du ballon, et une touche potentiellement offensive en soutien à Acuña et Hamilton. 

Le défenseur central Brandon John sera une pièce maîtresse de la défense. Seul défenseur central naturel signé officiellement par Atlético, il sera très sollicité, et devra être le parrain de Facchineri.

Malcolm Shaw devrait être la doublure offensive de Ben Fisk, ou même être employé en pointe. Ayant récemment joué en Suède, il pourrait être une surprise lors de ce tournoi.

Kunle Dada-Luke, un ailier canadien, produit de l’académie de TFC, en provenance de troisième division danoise patrouillera très probablement l’aile droite (à l’attaque ou comme latéral) et sera une source principales des minutes nécessaires aux U-21 en PLCan.

Le trifluvien Michel Djaozandry, un produit de l’Académie de l’Impact, demeure un certain mystère pour tous. Ayant joué en PLSQ, il sera probablement un remplaçant latéral, ou au milieu. Je ne serais pas surpris de le voir ravir un poste au cours du tournoi.

Le gardien Ricky Gomes devrait être sur le banc, mais il est possible de le voir comme partant afin de rencontrer les exigences de partants canadiens. Ayant été formé à l’Académie du FC Porto, et ayant joué au Portugal et en Écosse, il pourrait surprendre, s’il ravit la place de Nacho Zabal.

Les jeunes

Les jeunes devront prendre leur place au sein de cette formation, notamment afin de remplir la demande de minutes pour les U-21. En fait, avec Hamilton et Dada-Luke, les jeunes seront la clé qui feront qu’Ottawa nous surprendra, ou non.

Gianfranco Facchineri sera très certainement un partant en défense centrale, et accumulera très probablement la majorité des minutes U-21 avec Dada-Luke et Hamilton. En prêt des Whitecaps, le but de l’équipe MLS est certainement de voir jouer un de leur espoirs au maximum.

Antoine Coupland, favori des Ottaviens, pourrait voir certainement des minutes sur la droite, dans un rôle offensif. Il pourrait certainement être un ‘super sub’. Le recrutement du joueur de 16 ans par Atlético Ottawa n’est pas étranger à un intérêt à long terme certain. Après avoir impressionné lors de ses courtes minutes avec le Fury, il pourrait définitivement nous surprendre, s’il s’adapte au jeu physique de la PLCan.

Matteo de Brienne est la dernière signature officielle des Rojiblancos canadienses. Un produit local d’Ottawa South United, maintenant avec l’Académie des Whitecaps, il devrait également voir plusieurs minutes.  Avec Coupland, il sera définitivement à suivre.

Les trous

Évidemment, tous le savent. Ottawa s’amène au pays d’Anne sans un effectif complet – présentement. Bien que l’on s’attende encore à quelques signatures afin de compléter l’effectif, le banc risque d’être court. Qui plus est, on le sait, Bernardinho et Tevin Shaw manquent à l’appel, et auraient très probablement été des éléments clés pour Ottawa.

Il y aura peut-être manque de profondeur qui risque de limiter la flexibilité de Mista, un entraîneur avec peu d’expérience. Le niveau de la PLCan pourrait le surprendre, spécialement sans match préparatoires. Ajoutez des blessures potentielles causées par un calendrier compressé et un terrain artificiel universitaire surutilisé, qui ne sera peut-être pas au goût des joueurs étrangers, et la tâche de l’Espagnol pourrait être compliquée.

Mon inquiétude est en défense face à certaines puissances telles que Forge, York, Pacific, et même Cavalry. Bien que nous avons de bons partants, c’est encore le manque de profondeur et d’options qui pourrait jouer des tours, spécialement avec le potentiel pour 5 remplaçants. Avec l’effectif présent, tout remplacement en défense centrale crée un trou majeur ailleurs. Une autre inquiétude tourne autour du milieu. Mista semblait vouloir créer une équipe basée sur l’utilisation solide du milieu de terrain, mais l’absence de certains joueurs, et situation amplifiée par la difficulté du recrutement en raison de la pandémie pourrait avoir créé une situation difficile pour Ottawa.

Évidemment, la profondeur additionnelle pourrait arriver. Il y a plusieurs rumeurs qui circulent, dont les signatures potentielles de Maksym Kowal, Mohamed Kourouma, et potentiellement de Stefan Karajovanovic. Nous allons faire une mise à jour de notre article lorsque nous en saurons plus, mais j’anticipe que la plupart des ‘nouveaux’ seront des jeunes ou des joueurs de soutien qui amèneront davantage de profondeur et d’options sur le banc.

Le plan de match

À quoi s’attendre? Avec le Fury l’an dernier, on savait que l’on allait compter sur une équipe basée sur la possession. Je ne mettrai pas tout de suite un XI partant, mais ceci viendra cette semaine, avec l’annonce de nouveaux partants.

Est-ce que nous verrons chez Ottléti l’influence de l’ADN du grand club? Le jeu dur, la grinta intense, et une défense à onze?  Il y aura très probablement beaucoup de ceci. Avec le manque de profondeur en défensive, je m’attends à ce que tous soient impliqués à contrer les attaques adverses et à être prêts à profiter des erreurs de l’autre côté et de capitaliser lorsqu’elles surviennent.  

Il est clair qu’Atlético Ottawa se trouve dans une position très madrilène: ils feront face à un haut niveau d’adversité, un fait que le PDG Fernando López a subtilement souligné cette semaine via Twitter. Comme le grand frère l’a fait récemment contre Liverpool, ils pourraient nous surprendre. Défendre, défendre et défendre et tout à coup, profiter de la petite erreur et fendre le cœur de l’adversaire. 

Alors, qu’ils nous surprennent (et qu’ils signent des joueurs!)!

Senators numbers through the years Pt 3

Welcome back to part 3 of this mini quarantine series. Last article we went through numbers 26-50. This week we will be going through numbers 51-75. *Note* Total games played, Total Wins and Total points are for regular season only*

Number 51

Numbers like these just show how young the Senators franchise is as Artem Anisimov edges out Derek Smith as the best Sens player to wear this number. Anisimov was traded to Ottawa last season and played in 49 games earning 20 points. 

Number 52

Colin Greening wore this number in his first season in Ottawa. Greening, drafted by the Senators 204th overall back in 2005, played 24 games wearing this number, racking up a total of 13 points before changing to his more recognizable number 14. 

Number 53

This jersey number has seen a total of 30 NHL games split between 3 players. The most games that a player has worn this number is 11 and that player is Ilya Zubov. Zubov drafted by the Senators in Round 4 of the 2005 draft ended up playing 138 games in Binghamton and played only 11 with Ottawa before leaving back to the KHL. In his time with Ottawa, the center tallied a total of TWO points. The other 2 players who wore this number: Matthew Peca and Jack Rodewald did no better with Rodewald tallying 0 points in 10 games and Peca 2 points in 1 game. Hopefully, Senators will eventually get a great player to wear this number in the future.

Number 54

No Sens player has ever worn the number 54. 

Number 55

Sergei Gonchar played for the Ottawa Senators from 2010 to 2013 for a total of 186 games. In 2 of his 3 seasons in Ottawa, the Sens made the playoffs. In the playoffs, Gonchar played a total of 17 games and tallied 10 points. When he joined Ottawa he was nearing the end of his career but he was still able to solidify Ottawa’s defence. 

Number 56

Only 3 players have ever worn this number. However, the player that wore this number the longest was Magnus Paajarvi. Paajarvi was traded from the Blues to the Sens in 2017 and played in Ottawa until 2019 for a total of 115 games and 27 points. He was a decent 4th liner for the Sens but once the 2019/20 season rolled around, it was time for him to depart. 

Number 57

2 players have worn this number and both had next to no impact on the Ottawa Senators. The first player is Derek Grant who wore this number from 2012-13 to 2013-14. He played a total of 25 games and tallied a total of 2 points as a center…. The next player is good ol’ Tommy Wingels who played one season in Ottawa, playing a total of 36 games and tallying a total of 4 points… Have fun choosing who the best Sens player to wear this number is. 

Number 58

While Cody Bass played 34 games across 3 seasons for the Sens, Max Lajoie played 56 in just his first season with the Sens. Max Lajoie, drafted in the 5th round by the Ottawa Senators in the 2016 Draft, is an up and coming prospect for the Sens. As mentioned, in his first season Lajoie played 56 games and tallied a total of 15 points while on the back end. After a decent stint in Belleville in the 2019-20 season he was called up again to the Senators where he played in six games before being sent down to further improve his development. Lajoie is a perfect representation of a bright future for the Senators.

Number 59

David Dziurzynski is currently the best player to wear number 59. David played 26 games for the Ottawa Senators while spending most of his time in the minors. In these 26 games, he tallied a total of 4 points… To be fair, Formenton wears this number too but since he has only played 10 games and scored 1 point, he doesn’t make this list yet. 

Number 60

Mark Stone is the only player to ever wear this number and he only wore this for his rookie season where he played a total of 4 regular-season games and 2 playoff games. To read more about Mark Stone please look at the next number on this list 😉

Number 61

Mark Stone appears again! After being drafted by the Sens in the 6th round of the 2010 NHL Draft, Stone changed his number after one year from 60 to 61 and then built his legacy off the number 61. Stone quickly became a fan favourite and once Karlsson was traded, he became THE fan favourite. Of course in typical Ottawa fashion, he was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights. This wrapped up his career in Ottawa where he played a total of 362 games and finished with 311 points as the number 61. 

Number 62

Eric Gryba is the only player to ever wear this number. After being drafted by the Sens in round 3 of the 2006 NHL Draft, Gryba would make his way through the minors before playing for the Ottawa Senators for 3 seasons, tallying a total of 29 points in 165 games and being a physical presence on the ice. 

Number 63

Following Eric Gryba, the next 7 numbers have all been worn by only one person. For number 63 this lucky player is Tyler Ennis. Ennis, after being acquired from the Leafs, played a total of 61 games for the Sens before being traded to the Edmonton Oilers. In these 61 games, he tallied a total of 33 points. 

Number 64

J.C Beaudin played 22 games for the Sens last season scoring a total of 1 point. He does have a bright future and hopefully, he can create a legacy under this number.

Number 65

This is a painful one to write about. Erik Karlsson, one of the all-time fan favourites, was drafted by the Sens 15th overall in the 2008 NHL Draft. He would go on to play for 9 seasons, totalling 627 regular-season games and tallying 518 regular-season points. He would also play in 48 playoff games, finishing with 37 points. Before the 2018-19 season, Karlsson was traded to the Sharks, which would devastate the Sens fanbase and further add fuel to the #MelnykOut campaign. Karlsson is one of the greatest players to play for Ottawa and no one will ever come close to touching the number 65. 

Number 66

No Sens player has ever worn 66

Number 67

Ben Harpur, drafted by the Sens in round four of the 2013 draft had a solid start with the Sens before fans turned on him and Ceci. Harpur played a total of 103 games and tallied a total of 7 points before leaving the Sens after the 2018-19 season. 

Number 68

Mike Hoffman, drafted by the Sens in round 5 of the 2009 NHL Draft, was that sniper and scorer that the Sens desperately needed. He provided that offence for 7 seasons, playing a total of 342 games and tallying a total of 230 points in the regular season. He also played in 25 playoff games where he scored 14 points. Mike Hoffman’s time in Ottawa ended when he and his girlfriend had a falling out with Erik Karlsson and his wife, and Hoffman was shipped off to San Jose (for about an hour). 

Number 69 

Sadly no Sens player has ever worn the number 69

Number 70

I don’t think anyone remembers this, but back in the 2017-18 season, a goalie named Daniel Taylor played one game for the Senators where he let in 4 goals in a loss. However, since he is the only player to ever wear 70, he makes this list. 

Number 71

Another very likeable guy who went by the name of Nick Foligno was drafted by the Sens in round one of the 2006 NHL Draft. He played in Ottawa for 5 seasons before being traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Marc Methot. In his 5 seasons, he featured in 351 games and tallied a total of 148 points. Nick Foligno could have had a very long career in Ottawa but then the Sens wouldn’t have had Marc Methot so it was a trade that had to happen. 

Number 72

H O T S A M B A T C H O. Yes Thomas Chabot, the man who is slowly filling the hole left by Karlsson is making a name for himself with the number 72. Playing in 4 seasons he has 119 points in 205 games and is rapidly becoming a valuable player for the Sens. His contract extension was very important as it gave Sens fans hope for the future. 

Number 73

Jarkko Ruutu played in Ottawa for 3 seasons and provided a decent amount of offence, having 2, 20 point seasons. He played a total of 210 games and tallied a total of 57 points. 

Number 74

Mark Borowiecki is the classic hometown hero that every team needs. Drafted in the 5th round of the 2008 NHL Draft, Boro has played 375 games and tallied a total of 51 points. However, Boro brings that leadership that is desperately needed on this young Senators team and he is currently in need of a contract extension. It would be a real shame if Borocop had to leave this team as well. 

Number 75

No Senators player has ever worn the number 75

2020 Playoffs in the eyes of a Sens fan


Well Sens fans, for the third straight season, your Ottawa Senators have missed the playoffs. Even with 24 teams making the playoffs this year due to unprecedented circumstances, Ottawa will be one of the 7 teams not competing for the Stanley Cup. Therefore, I have once again gathered a list of teams Sens fans can cheer for these playoffs either based on former players or other factors. Enjoy!


Former Players

Boston BruinsZdeno Chara
Philadelphia FlyersTravis Konecny (Ottawa 67s)Brian Elliott
Carolina HurricanesPetr Mrázek (Ottawa 67s)Ryan Dzingel
New York RangersMika Zibanejad
New York IslandersJean-Gabriel PageauDerick Brassard
Florida PanthersMike HoffmanChris Driedger
Toronto Maple LeafsJason SpezzaCody Ceci
Columbus Blue JacketsNick Foligno

Other Reasons

This season’s draft lottery system has never been seen before. Due to this new playoff format, possibly one of the play-in teams could win the first overall draft pick. The new format may put Sens fans in a weird situation. Sens fans will probably want Toronto to advance onto the next round just so they don’t get a chance at the first overall pick. Imagine the Maple Leafs winning the Draft Lottery??? 

At the same time, Ottawa has the New York Islanders’ first-round pick. However, it is top 3 protected meaning that Sens fans should be hoping for the Islanders to lose in the first round and then lose the lottery as well. 

In the case of the Montreal vs Pittsburgh series, it is a lose-lose situation as both teams winning the lottery would be a disaster. However, Pittsburgh winning the lottery would be much worse than Montreal winning, therefore Sens fans should probably be cheering for the team that killed our organization back in 2017. 


Former Players

Calgary FlamesBuddy Robinson
Winnipeg JetsDylan DeMelo
Edmonton OilersAlex Chiasson
Chicago BlackhawksZack Smith
Vancouver CanucksTyler Toffoli (67s)Michael DiPietro (67s)
Nashville PredatorsMatt DucheneKyle Turris
Vegas Golden KnightsMark StoneRobin Lehner
Dallas StarsBen Bishop
Colorado AvalancheVladisav Namestikov

Every team in the West except for the Minnesota Wild and Arizona Coyotes have players that have links to the Senators or 67s. This makes it quite easy for a Sens fan to pick a team based on former players. 

Other Reasons

As said before for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton is a team that no one wants to see win the lottery this year, so people should be rooting for Edmonton to go through so they avoid the lottery. 

The Arizona Coyotes are a budding young team with some star talent in Phil Kessel and Taylor Hall. Amidst all the issues they are having with their General Manager quitting, this team is falling under the radar for a lot of people. They are the dark horse in this tournament and people should jump on this train before it becomes popular. 

While Sens fans won’t be able to watch their team play until December, hockey is back with multiple games per day and there is no reason why Sens fans can’t take on a temporary team and have fun during these tough times. Hope this list helped!

Blackjacks fold in first game

The Ottawa Blackjacks kicked off their inaugural 2020 season on Saturday vs the Guelph Nighthawks as the second game of the double header to start the 2020 Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) Summer Series with a disappointing effort in a 89-71 loss. 

The Blackjacks offense was non-existent, shooting an abysmal 37% (24/64) from the field while only hitting on 35% (6/17) beyond the arc this afternoon. The offense finished the night with 14 assists, 12 fast break points, and the bench produced 29 points. Turnovers were one of the biggest problems offensively, giving the ball up 17 times and isn’t going to allow you to win many games. 

Phil Scrubb was disappointing to watch in this game offensively, playing 28:25, he was 33% (3-9) from the field with 5 rebounds and 6 assists. He needs to shoot the ball more to help this team win games, single digit shot attempts will not be beneficial for success. 

The offence hurt themselves in this game, from poor ball handling to bad shot selections to ball movement, they gave the Nighthawks every chance to stay in the game and they took full advantage. Only two players had double digit shot attempts, Thomas Scrubb (7/16) and Olivier Hanlan (3/14). This cannot continue for the rest of the tournament.

The Blackjacks interior defense was horrible this game, giving up 54% (21/39) from within the arc with 38 points coming from the paint. Perimeter defense was strong, holding them to just under 33% (11/34) from beyond the arc. Overall, the Nighthawks shot 44% (32/73) from the field. Blackjacks forced 16 turnovers which is what you’d like to see, but gave up 21 fast break points. 

Both teams had 24 personal fouls but the Blackjacks shot 73% (17/23) while the Nighthawks shot 93% (14/15) from the charity stripe.


Player of the game is Thomas Scrubb, who was the Blackjacks best player, game high in minutes at 30:00, 18 points, shooting a team high 43% (7/16) from the field while going 50% (3/6) from deep and grabbing a team high 8 rebounds. 

Overall, this team as a lot of promise, would love to see this team in a full 20 game season but in a 2 week tournament where all 6 games matter, Osvaldo Jeanty & co. need to hit the court hard to find a way to use all their players to create space for better looks inside and from the arc along with playing a more focused and physical brand of defense before Monday night match-up vs Edmonton Stingers at 7:30.

Thank you for reading, you can follow me at Shane_Ryan97 on twitter for all your Blackjacks news #HopOn 

Game Stats:

Olivier Hanlan and the Ottawa Blackjacks get ready for this weekend’s CEBL Summer Series

Olivier Hanlan at the Ottawa Blackjacks training camp, photo by: Jordan Zlomislic

Announced on Thursday in Blackjacks news, was the signing of former Utah Jazz draft pick Olivier Hanlan. When reporting to Blackjacks training camp he mentions, “It was a pretty unique opportunity. During this time, as professionals we’re usually back home getting in open gyms and training but with Covid-19 and everything going on its been tough to get in gyms so when this opportunity came it was a no-brainer. It gives me the chance to train and stay in game shape, I know the coaches here and its good 5 on 5 basketball.” Hanlan, a 27 year old guard hasn’t played a game since earlier this year with Iraklis in the Greek professional league but, that doesn’t mean he’s not experienced. 

After leaving Boston College in 2015, Hanlan has competed in 8 different leagues in 5 different countries. Unlike other players on this Blackjacks roster who are coming out of university, Hanlan has a lot of professional experience and he looks to bring that experience with him to help the team succeed. “I’ve been playing professional for a while now and I know we have a lot of good guys on this team that has also been playing for a few years so I know a lot of guys can bring all sorts of stuff to the court and I plan on bringing my leadership to the team, I’ll be a good player here and I want to help this team win all of the games in next week’s tournament.”

In less than 7 days, the Ottawa Blackjacks will be tipping off against the Niagara River Lions in St. Catharines for the CEBL Summer Series and Olivier Hanlan is excited to play in Canada again, “Going through my basketball career, I’ve been all over the place. Traveling to Europe, G-League, I haven’t really been in Canada too much so this is a nice opportunity for me and my family and friends because now they can watch me, and watch me in the same time zone. I’m looking forward to playing close to home and hopefully I make everybody proud.”

The Ottawa Blackjacks finishing up their Saturday practice, photo by: Jordan Zlomislic

To watch the Aylmer, Quebec native play among Blackjacks stars like Jean Pierre-Charles and Eric Kibi, tune into CBC Sports on July 25th as they tip off the tournament against the Niagara River Lions. Olivier Hanlan mentions, “If you’re watching us next week, you can expect a lot of things, one being competition. We’re aiming on winning every single game so you’ll see us competing out there for sure.”

2019-20 Senators’ defense report card

2019-20 was a long season for Sens’ fans even though it was cut short, and the team lost a lot more than they won. With that said, here’s our breakdown for how each position group performed on the team this season. This report card will focus on the defense, you can check out the forwards here. Let’s get into the defense. 

The A’s: 

Thomas Chabot 

Chabot was clearly in a class of his own on the team’s blueline this season and this report card reflects that. He was the team’s best player for many games this season, logging heavy minutes, and the signing of his big contract has given fans hope for the future again. Even with some inconsistent and rough patches, he was able to produce 39 points in 71 games and appears to be improving his two-way abilities. Chabot had a good season and still has room to improve, he gets an A.

The B’s:

Mark “Boro Cop” Borowiecki

Borowiecki did a complete 180° in the eyes of many fans this season. After that weird promotional video with Melnyk amongst other things, many were calling for Boro to be dealt to make way for some younger defencemen on the team. However, after literally stopping a robbery and being one of the most active players on the team in the community, Boro had a great season off the ice. He set career highs in goals, points, assists, led the blueliners in goals with seven, and was his usual reliable, big hitting self on the back end. I don’t know what changed, but this was the best season of Boro’s career.

The C’s: 

Mike Reilly 

Reilly was acquired by the team during the season to provide some depth to a blueline that was decimated with injuries. He was effective offensively for the team, scoring 12 points and one goal in 30 games. The problem was more often than not he was a defensive liability on the ice. 

Due to that inconsistency in his game he earns a C. 

Ron Hainsey 

Signed to provide a veteran presence and depth to a young blueline last summer, Hainsey did just that. The problem was, he was slow and plagued by injuries this season. He did not contribute much offensively, but was consistent on a nightly basis. For the veteran experience and consistency, he provided he earns a C rather than a D. 

Nikita Zaitsev 

Zaitsev deserves an A simply for just not being Cody Ceci as there was no saving that relationship with Ceci and the fans. Zaitsev was a slight upgrade in that aspect as he wasn’t getting destroyed on Twitter after every game. Zaitsev wasn’t the team’s best defenceman this season and dragged down his partner offensively quite a bit. He was a somewhat steadying presence defensively though and by simply not being Ceci he gets a C. 

Nikita Zaitsev of the Ottawa Senators takes the puck in the first ...

The D’s: 

Cody Goloubef

Goloubef wasn’t expected to contribute much else than being a body for the team this season and he met those expectations. For a team that expected to lose a lot this season Goloubef was good for that role. However, he didn’t show a whole lot that warrants him blocking a spot from a younger player next season. Goloubef was claimed on waivers by Detroit in February.

Andreas Englund 

Englund was similar to Zaitsev this past season. Was steady but didn’t provide much to the blueline. He didn’t contribute much offensively and had very few memorable big plays or hits defensively. 

Erik Brännström 

Brännström’s time in the NHL warrants a D but thankfully he showed his true potential when he returned to the AHL. Brännström didn’t look ready to be playing in the NHL at the start of the yea, reflected by his results on the ice. For that reason he earns a D, but the arrow is still pointing up when it comes to his future expectations. 

The blueline featured a lot of subpar play this season as it was plagued by injury and some slow legs. However, this should hopefully be the last season fans have to worry about that as there are some very promising defensive prospects that should be joining the team very soon. As far as the 2019-20 season though, just like the team’s season as a whole, it wasn’t great.