• By: Dave Gross

November blues? Watch hockey

Photo courtesy NHLI via Getty Images

November, from where we sit, has to be the dreariest month on the calendar.

Windy, cold and dark (most years; this year), November is ‘King of the Blahs.’

With this valuable information in hand we say, thank God for hockey.

And thank God for good hockey.

We saw plenty during the weekend.

First to Ottawa where the two-in-a-row Senators handed Pittsburgh its lunch convincingly. There was no Sidney Crosby on Canadian Tire Centre ice, but it certainly did not diminish the entertainment factor.

I mean, who doesn’t relish a 6-4 hockey game rich with up-and-down play? Maybe the goaltending coach, but that’s about it.

This was just plain fun.

Meantime on the other early Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, Montreal travelled to Vancouver (with legions of fans in tow) and captured a dwindling-moments 3-2 road win. The locals even had something to bolt out of their seats at as super-rookie Elias Pettersson bagged his 11th goal of the season.

The capper on the night though (of course, again, ‘from where we sit’) was HNIC’s late game between Calgary and Edmonton.

As one of the between-period analysts quipped after the first period: ‘That was the best period of hockey I’ve seen in years.’

No argument here.

Goals, chances, hits, scrums and even fights (remember fights?). Thirty-six minutes in penalties in that opening frame. Dynamite.

And there was great hockey too.

Edmonton skated out to a 2-0 lead thanks to Connor McDavid and former Ottawan Alex Chiasson – who now has seven goals. Calgary gets back to even early in the third, then salts it away on two Elias Lindholm markers.

What a night of hockey.

November might be brash. The hockey at the very least, gives it a little bit of shine.

News, notes and notions: What a junior treat this past Saturday afternoon as well, as Sportsnet aired the Guelph-London tilt. Loads of top-end talent and loaded with high NHL picks (Evan Bouchard, Ryan Merkley, Isaac Ratcliffe, Liam Foudy, Adam Boqvist and Ottawa pick Alex Formenton), the pure speed of these kids is mind-blowing. Junior hockey, like it’s big brother the National Hockey League, is all about brisk, breakneck play . . . Can’t understand why the Senators don’t just hand the captaincy to Mark Stone. Not sure what he is like in the room but on the ice he is undeniably the team leader. Makes us think there’s more to his contract situation/future than we know about . . . If I’m buying a ticket, I’m taking a pair for March 16th when the Leafs make their first visit to Ottawa. You’d be hard-pressed to find two more entertaining teams to watch in the entire league . . . Big hit to the Bruins as they lose Zdeno Chara for the next month, minimum (MCL injury) . . . Got to think Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is going to do more on the trade front than getting under-performing Tanner Pearson from LA for under-performing Carl Hagelin . . . Toronto’s week was exceptional – sweeping their way through California for the first time since 1995 . . . How good has Mitch Marner become. As Postmedia’s Steve Simmons points out, Marner has 72 points in his last 60 games . . . Max Domi and Montreal? A marriage made in heaven . . . This is not a misprint: The Buffalo Sabres have won five straight . . . This too is not a misprint: The Pittsburgh Penguins are last in the Eastern Conference. Hence the push for more moves from Rutherford . . . Matt Murray is part of the problem – the former star rookie netminder’s numbers are galling: 4.08 goals-against average and .877 save percentage . . . Starting to wonder if Vegas is going to recapture some of that magic from last season. Cinderella only knocks once.

Senators week ahead:

Monday, Nov. 19: Florida at Ottawa (7:30 pm)

Wednesday, Nov. 21: Ottawa at Minnesota (8 pm)

Friday, Nov. 23: Ottawa at Dallas (8 pm)