• By: Dave Gross

Brown/Senators: A marriage of disappointment

You have to start wondering at this point – if you haven’t already – just what the heck is the game plan for one Logan Brown here in Ottawa?

Sure, he’s up here with the big boys at the NHL level, but seriously, I think the guys who scrape the rink during commercial breaks get more ice time on a nightly basis than Brown.

Not that he’s earned anything more, but it seems that Brown hasn’t been given the same chances as ‘other’ young hopefuls populating the Senator lineup. (Howdy, Colin White).

Example: Saturday night against Philadelphia, Brown logged a whopping 8:03 (including some power-play time). White, who has three goals in 30 games and gives new meaning to the term uninvolved played nearly double that (15:21).

Does management have a plan here for Brown who turns 22 in a couple of months?

Is the Brown camp ready to flee at the first chance?

Clearly the only thing both garrisons can agree on: They’re both unhappy.

Oh sure, Ottawa management says all the right words when queried about the 11th overall pick in the 2016 entry draft. What really do you expect them to say? The truth?

‘Yeah we’re greatly disappointed in his progress . . . we wish he applied himself further . . . He’s 6-6, can he not play with more physicality . . . If he isn’t going to pound guys, shouldn’t he be the next Bobby Smith?’

Brown is – and has been for some time – a resident of the doghouse. Which begs the question, what the heck is he doing IN Ottawa then, playing 6-8 minutes a game and skating on the wing on the team’s fourth line?

If you’re truly interested in progress and development either give him more minutes and more responsibility up here and roll the dice or send him back to Belleville for the next few months.

Obviously that’s something the Brown camp wouldn’t be sympathetic to. Just a few months back, Brown’s agent subtly tore a strip off Ottawa management for not allowing the former OHL star a legitimate opportunity in the NHL.

Nothing much has changed since then. And you have to wonder as well what thoughts Brown’s papa has . . . that’d be former NHL star and former 67’s coach Jeff Brown. Seething? Frustrated? Hyper angry? All of the above?

Not sure where this is all going to end up, to be honest, but one thing’s for certain, this baby is coming to a head and likely pretty soon.

NEWS, NOTES AND NOTIONS: That 2016 draft had plenty of hits and misses (at this juncture). Mid-level first rounders like Brown – Charlie McAvoy (Boston, 14th overall), Jakob Chychrun (Arizona, 16th) and Mikhail Sergachev (Montreal, 9th, now with Tampa) have had considerable impact. Others like Michael McLeod (New Jersey, 12th), Jake Bean (13th, Carolina) and Alexander Nylander (Buffalo, 9th) haven’t done much of anything. Such is the mystery of picking teenagers . . . And can we put the Auston Matthews/Patrik Laine debate to bed, finally? Plenty of Ottawa fans and media were so quick to hail Laine as the better player coming out of the draft – simply because Matthews was about to don the blue-and-white (isn’t personal bias just wondrous?). Must sting now. Matthews has 11 more goals scored than Laine in 22 less games played, and Laine is purported to be the ‘sniper’ between the two. Fact is, as a centre, Matthews is well ahead of Laine as far as overall value . . . One week ago in this very space we were lamenting the state of the Canadian clubs in the Eastern Conference. Well, lookie-here: At least one of the forgotten tribes has made a significant move. Toronto captured its fourth straight win Saturday night. Two of those wins were on the road (New York and Edmonton). The run has moved the Leafs up from 12th in the conference to 5th. Montreal has won three of its last five and is just two back of Toronto. Should be an interesting 2020 . . . Do the Leafs just look a whole lot different in the past week and change? ‘Composed’ comes to mind . . . From one end of the spectrum to the other: Washington is clearly the best team in hockey with its slick blend of speed, skill and toughness. The Caps have a six-point lead on Boston for first overall league-wise. Then there’s Detroit. The Wings are stuffing their stocking with lottery odds. Detroit is six back of New Jersey for last overall. Ugh . . . The oddest item regarding the Caps? Neither Alex Ovechkin nor Nick Backstrom lead the team in points. That belongs to defenceman John Carlson and his 47 ducats. Carlson leads Ovie by 12 (freakin’!) points in team scoring. Hello, Norris.

The week ahead for the Senators:

Monday, Dec. 23: Buffalo at Ottawa (7:30 pm)

Sunday, Dec. 29: New Jersey at Ottawa (5 pm)