• By: Dave Gross

NHL business about to get busy

“Gentlemen start your engines?”


This is more, “Gentlemen, check your tank to make sure it’s topped up, get an oil change, ensure your winter tires are in great shape and bring an extra cushion for your rear end and a bucket of coffee to keep you alert.”

This is going to be one helluva ride.

For the hockey addict in some of us, the next few months are going to be orgiastic (. . . it’s a word, I even looked it up). I mean, like a day will hardly go by without a game of great interest at your fingertips.


You bet.


You bet. For the players, no doubt.

For the locals – meaning the Ottawa Senators – the fun begins this week with five games in seven days. The remaining days of February sport 11 games in 20 days.

God bless COVID protocols for the abundance. Thanks to dozens of postponements prior to Christmas, the make-ups have waterlogged the calendar.

What this means of course is that the teams steeped in quality depth will succeed. Those without will suffer. Playing this amount of hockey in such a short amount of time will create injuries. Loads of injuries.

The busiest lads will be the athletic therapists among us, trying to keep the bodies rolling against mounting odds.

As this is yet another developmental year in Ottawa, the heat is not as hot as it is, say, in Toronto. That plays to the Senators peace of mind in a large way. Ottawa has the luxury of rolling in prospect after prospect in the next couple of months to see how they fare in the big time. There are no playoffs in Ottawa’s future here and with that, no pressure. (Kind of akin to the last four years.)

But you have to take what the hockey gods give you. In Ottawa, that’s seeing the long-awaited debut of a guy like Jake Sanderson, (aka – the Anointed One on hockey chat boards). You’ll see plenty of Sanderson soon.

Actually, you’ll see plenty of hockey, period.

Lace ‘em up tight boys.

THOUGHT, SEEN AND HEARD: I remain not enamoured with the whole thing, but I get it, the all-star game is about exposure and making bucks for the National Hockey League. It’s unavoidable, I suppose . . . The skills competition was just plain fun, though. The players did a superb job bringing personality and colour to what used to be a fairly straight-forward competition . . . Still thought there should have been a spot created for Zdeno Chara in the hardest-shot event . . . Happy belated to Donald S. Cherry. Grapes turned 88 during the weekend . . . We just plowed through what sport fans describe as the worst pro sports weekend of the year. No NHL, no NFL, no MLB (obviously) . . . Thanks to the Olympics though for drawing in some starving eyes . . . I now have a great appreciation for 30-km skiathlon, snowboarding and curling mixed doubles . . . Well, kind of . . . The NBA was the only one of the Big-4 to compete. Is it me or is there not a whole lot of Canuck interest in the happenings of the Toronto Raptors this time ‘round? . . . I’m taking the Bengals in next weekend’s Super Bowl just because the City of Cincinnati desperately needs something to get revved up about . . . Netflix got a good going over this past week in this corner of the world. Binged Bodyguard (from the mind of Jed Mercurio, the same guy who brought us Line of Duty). It was a superb binge. Game of Thrones fans will recognize Richard Madden as the star. He played the ill-fated Robb Stark. Remember? Red Wedding? . . . And with that, the Lannisters send their regards.


Monday, Feb. 7: New Jersey at Ottawa (7 pm)

Tuesday, Feb. 8: Carolina at Ottawa (7 pm)

Thursday, Feb. 10: Pittsburgh at Ottawa (7 pm)

Saturday, Feb. 12: Boston at Ottawa (12:30 pm)

Sunday, Feb. 13: Ottawa at Washington (12:30 pm)