Ottawa Senators Off-Ice Power Rankings - February 2014

by Chet Sellers

You know what they say - after April, January is one of the cruellest months. To their credit, the Senators managed to execute their core mandate - playing iced hockey - relatively successfully in January, posting a 7-2-3 record after a disastrous December that saw them duck social media so much we had to use this space to rank performances in their Christmas video. Were things any better in January? Let's find out!

1) Erik Condra (last month: 1)

"You like any, uh, like . . . mini weiners, or, uh . . . sliders, or anything like that?"

2) Erik Karlsson (last month: 4)

"Maybe you're just gripping your stick a little too tight. Look at the confident-yet-relaxed grip I have on this towel. I'm going to the Olympics by the way."

Did you hear that Erik Karlsson spent a good portion of last month ignoring his fans by not talking to the media? Some of the media were happy to tell you about it. Of course, you could still get the real story straight from the hästens mun as he held court on a variety of topics, including teaming up with an old enemy and testing whether a cowboy hat can go with a Members Only jacket and a onesie (turns out it can't). But Chet, you say, that still doesn't mean anyone is asking Erik the tough questions! And that's where you're so wrong.

3) Bobby Ryan (last month: 8)

Imagine you're really good at your job. In fact, imagine you're in the top tier of the 600 or so best people in the entire world in your particular field. Now suppose you don't happen to be picked for a special assignment because you're just out of the top, say, 75. Still nothing to be ashamed of, right? At least not until it comes out that the guys doing the picking thought you were sleepy, and not particularly intense, and a poor speller. And then rather than appreciate the fact that you're talented enough to be considered, everybody wants to know if you feel "snubbed". What would you do?

Well, you could probably be forgiven if the worst thing you did was call somebody a munson. But more importantly, you'd probably want to go out and show the world that being snubbed had no impact on you, right? That you were so over it, it wasn't even on your mind? People say that Martin St. Louis elevating his game after being passed over by Team Canada demonstrates what a champion he is, but all I see is a guy who got so rattled by someone else's opinion that he let it affect his game. Where was that extra gear before, Martin? Or do you need something silly like a "snub" to start playing with intesnity? But hey, as a belated reward, we're happy to fly you to Russia on your break, where you can be a healthy scratch for two weeks!

That's why I think Bobby Ryan has it right by going the other way with it - not only did he not start playing with cheap desperation because a bunch of old guys made fun of him publicly, but he decided to show them how little it bothered him by making January this year's month for his annual cold streak. That's a champion, folks. That's a guy who's gonna play his game no matter what you think of him. Enjoy your vacation, Bobby!

4) Marc Methot (last month: 6)


Hey, even the best relationships are still susceptible to passive-aggressive behaviour.

5) Joe Corvo (last month: NR)

Strangely, the picture above didn't make it into any of the official accounts of last month's Sens Soirée at the Lac Leamy Casino. Still, this picture tells us a few things about Joe Corvo:

a) Since he last played for the Sens, he's had the word LUCKY, or possibly STICKY, tattooed across his stomach.

b) If Erik Karlsson's tender, understanding grasp of his hand is any indication, it's clearly LUCKY.

c) Joe Corvo has gotten used to not dressing for games.

6) Robin Lehner (last month: 10)

See, that's a proper night out, Joe. Everybody keeps their shirt on, everybody gets a little rotisseried meat.

7) Chris Neil (last month: NR)

I still don't know why people got so upset about this video. In it, two goalies and four grinders are asked what they think of Corsi. Outside of Erik Condra, who gives a non-committal answer because he knows exactly what Corsi is and probably used it in his last contract negotiation, none answer particularly positively.

But who cares? Of course these guys can understand the concept, but why give it any attention in the room? Why should professional hockey players worry about a statistic with a silly name that measures how they've played, when they're more concerned with going out there and actually playing? If you said to Matt Kassian, "Do you think it's important that your team fires the puck at the net more than the other team?", do you think he'd say no? But if you ask him whether he keeps track of his "Corsi", in front of his peers? You're just giving him material.

Chris Neil makes the list this month because you can see this thought process work itself out in about half a second after he's asked the question. "What's Corsi, stats?" he asks. "For losers." Chris Neil has lasted 13 years in this league because he's a master troll. If you bit on this one, now you just know what it's like to be, say, B.J. Crombeen.

8) Mika Zibanejad (last month: NR)

When you have a great deal of natural athleticism, as most of the Senators do, you can be better than average at many sports without too much practice. What's interesting, though, is how athleticism compensates less and less for specific skills in certain sports, particularly as those skills diverge more and more from hockey's.

What do I mean? Well, hockey players seem to enjoy golf, which, like hockey, involves hitting an object on the ground by swinging a club-like object along a vertical plane. And hockey players also seem to gravitate toward soccer, which, like hockey, is a possession-based sport that requires quick footwork to avoid defenders in order to move down the field and score the occasional goal. In both cases, the skills required to play these sports are similar enough to hockey's that a hockey player can succeed mostly through athleticism and muscle memory, rather than by developing new skills.

Basketball is also a possession-based sport, but one that requires scoring through the air rather than along the ground. As basketball skills start to diverge from hockey skills, we can see athleticism struggling to compensate.

Then there's football, a game of strategic ball movement via both air and ground that focuses on discrete, set-play outcomes rather than continuous possession. These concepts are even more foreign to hockey, and as you can see from the video above, the Senators are not particularly good at football. Many of them are pretty bad, actually.

What hockey skills might translate to football? Positional awareness? Anticipating where the ball is going and being there at the right time? You might expect the smartest hockey players to hang back on defense and capitalize on these types of skills. Oh hey, Mika.

9) Matt Kassian (last month: 8)

Looking at Kassian's tied-up beard and considering his wife's chagrin, I'm reminded of a Bible story the Kassians should be familiar with, namely that of Samson, the man who lost his superhuman strength when his hair was cut in an act of betrayal by his beloved, Delilah. Also the drain snake I once used to get a comb out of the toilet.

10) Free Stuff (last month: NR)

Sure, what the hell. See you next month!

NOT RANKED: Eugene Melnyk; that feeling you're missing out on something; losing someone you care about; putting yourself out there.
Powered by Blogger.