Four Things to Watch as the Senators Open Training Camp

by Joe Boughner (@McLlwainsWorld)

The wait is almost over, Ottawa Senators fans. Training camp is just a few weeks away and the team at Bonk's Mullet is preparing for another season of wall-to-wall coverage of your hometown heroes in red, white, black, heritage black, heritage white, a slightly different shade of red, and... gold?

So as we all bid adieu to the stupid summer and prepare to go pasty and pale in our basements, eyes glued to our televisions, here are the four biggest storylines set to play out at the Canadian Tire Centre and sometimes Sensplex if Disney on Ice needs the rink or whatever!

1) Who's on First?

No, not first base, silly. Gawd, you're so silly! Thinking I meant first base. This is a hockey blog, you big silly. *Twirls hair around finger* You're such a big silly!

No, I mean who is on the ice first. As in, the first line. And I specifically mean at the centre position. Though, admittedly, that part was left pretty vague. I guess you could say I like a little mystery in my life. *Twists cherry stem into a knot in my mouth*

*Coughs as the cherry stem goes into windpipe*

Kyle Turris has been the de facto number one centreman since Jason Spezza left town but newly-acquired Derick Brassard is expected to make a push for the crown.

That's kind of all there is to say about that, actually. Now you see why I padded it with some harmless flirtation. I mean, they both play centre. And they're both pretty good, apparently. So one of them is going to be the first-line centre and one is going to be the second-line centre. That will be decided in training camp, at least until the coach changes his mind again after the season starts.

It's funny because that's Johnny Drama from Entourage. You guys remember Entourage? It was terrible. 

2) Who's on... Sixth?

Ottawa's top four defencemen will be longtime stalwarts and fan favourites Erik Karlsson, Marc Methot, Cody Ceci, and then also Dion Phaneuf will be there. After that, though, things get a little bit interesting.

Chris Wideman played 64 games in his first NHL season and should have an inside track at the 5th defenceman position, but who will be skating beside him is yet to be determined. Will Captain Grit, Mark Borowiecki, be an everyday player? Is Mike Kostka really our sixth-best option god help us all? Or will a prospect like Thomas Chabot or Fredrik Claesson grab on to a roster position with some strong preseason play?

I'mma just leave this here.

You probably expected a joke somewhere in this section. But our defensive depth is no laughing matter, folks.

Let's move on.

3) Who will be sacrificed to Æsbiorn: The Reaver of Souls?

One possible down note for Sens fans at this otherwise glorious time, it's Ottawa's turn to make the annual NHL sacrifice to Æsbiorn: The Reaver of Souls and, as per the concessions made in the last round of CBA talks, this year is the first year that it's Æsbiorn's option. That means the Senators don't just get to offer up some late round draft pick from seven years ago like most teams have done. 

Some have speculated that the Norse-god-turned-soul-reaver may be up for a challenge, leading to suggestions that Curtis Lazar may be on the block, though others have argued that Lazar's overwhelming goodness and purity of being may be too much for the reaver to take. Only time will tell. 

Æsbiorn is expected to make his choice known as part of NBC's first Wednesday Night Rivalry broadcast of the season, brought to you by GEICO.

4) Who?

While most Sens fans are undoubtedly pumped to see the likes of EK65, BFnR and ... Hoffy(?), this year's camp will feature the likes of Tom Pyatt and Mike Blunden making their debuts in Sens sweaters along with AHL additions from last year like Phil Varone and Ryan Rupert. And don't forget defencemen Macoy Erkamps, who is too a person that exists, and Patrick Sieloff, who will be easy to spot since he'll be wearing the weight of Jason Spezza's legacy on his back!

Granted, none of these guys carry the pedigree of Eric O'Dell, but at least when these guys lead the Belleville Senators on an improbable run to the Calder Cup you can say you saw them way back in the fall of '16!

Well that's that, Senators fans. Happy camping!

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