MONTREAL — Filling the Senators’ second-line centre position has been an ongoing issue since, oh, since 1992.
After taking Alexei Yashin and Alexandre Daigle in their first two drafts, the rosy outlook was the club being set down the middle for years to come.
That didn’t really work out, did it?
Radek Bonk, Joe Juneau, Todd White, Bryan Smolinski, right on up to Mike Fisher ... a lot of players have tried to fill the job and did so with varying levels of success.
The search goes on.
It will be interesting in the next little while to see what other options present themselves. A couple of in-house remedies being contemplated could see Ryan Shannon or Nick Foligno get a shot at centring the second line.
“Shannon played centre at the world championship (for the U.S.) and I thought he did a pretty good job,” said Senators GM Bryan Murray. Senators coach Cory Clouston threw the possibility of Shannon getting a shot at centre out there yesterday, too.
A couple of days ago, he suggested Foligno might be shifted from the wing to the middle, a position Foligno played in junior. As he grows as a player, he certainly looks capable of being able to handle the defensive responsibilities of the centre position in his own zone.
If either of those guys can do the job, it sets the Senators up pretty nicely since that means Fisher could centre a very good third line.
Hear and there
As expected, it’s going to take the new Senators a little while to settle into their new surroundings. Alex Kovalev strode through the Senators’ dressing room yesterday morning with a couple of his sticks in hand, walking right through the Senators logo in the middle of the carpet. Walking on the logo is forbidden for anybody in the dressing room. “Hey, hey, hey,” said a couple of his teammates. “That’s going to cost you a thousand,” said another. “Good thing you’re rich,” said C Jason Spezza, getting ready to do a television interview ... A familiar face in the press box last night: Ottawa’s Lorne Goldenberg. He’s the Habs’ new strength and conditioning coach, reunited with Canadiens coach Jacques Martin.
Senators tough guy Jeremy Yablonski got into his second pre-season game last night, a reward for his honest effort and the job he’s done standing up for his teammates down in Binghamton. Clouston said he expects Yablonski to play some games with the big club this year. Just circle whatever dates the Senators play Brian Burke’s Leafs as likely dates.
The Bruins picked up a nice package of draft picks for W Phil Kessel last night, but picks don’t score you 36 goals right now or help you win games. Talking to an executive the other day, he was saying the Bruins’ situation just goes to show how small the window to win for elite teams can be in the salary cap era. The Bruins couldn’t afford to keep a young talent like Kessel and face No. 1 Marc Savard becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer ... Yablonski just squared off with the Habs’ Eric Neilson (207 PIMs with Peoria of AHL last year) early in the second. Neither landed any great punches, but Yablonski had to go for repairs for a cut near his right eye after he got taken down hard. It’s never good when your face, with the other guy’s elbow behind your head — breaks the fall ... Chris Neil took on Neilson, as well, and suffered the same fate, though escaped without getting cut.
I don’t know how long it’s going to take before I see former Canadiens coach Jacques Demers in the media lounge here at the Bell Centre and think “Senator Demers.”