• By: Dave Gross

SENATORS: A Week in Review – February 20-February 27, 2017

SENATORS: A Week in Review is a weekly column 
looking back at the week in Ottawa Senators
hockey written by #OLMSports Dave Gross.

Photo courtesy of NHLI via Getty Images

"May you live in interesting times."

The much-used Chinese saying is meant as a curse. And it is particularly appropriate in describing the Ottawa Senators who are about to embark on a stretch of 'interesting' times.

The Senators lost Mark Stone, Tommy Wingels and Mike Hoffman to injury in quick succession Sunday in Ottawa's 3-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Earlier in the week, Ottawa learned that Bobby Ryan will miss up to six weeks with a broken finger.

Three of the forwards are Top-2 line talents while Wingels has provided a valuable defensive presence on the front lines.

The potential good news is that Stone, Wingels and Hoffman accompanied their team to New Jersey for Tuesday's game. This doesn't mean they're necessarily going to play, but a good sign nonetheless.

Extensive time off could spell disaster.

The loss of Stone is especially taxing.  He's been Ottawa's best player this season, and surely its smartest. Stone is one of those rare commodities that plays defensively as well as he does on the offence.

Stone was leveled by a high hit from Winnipeg defenceman Jacob Trouba midway through Sunday's third period and did not return (oddly enough, Stone was hammered against this same Jets' squad last year and missed considerable time).

Stone leads the team in goals (22) and is second to Erik Karlsson in total points.

All totaled together, the Senators lost 54 goals in the past week between the four forwards.

The rash of various injuries meant Ottawa needed to dip into the minors and call up Max McCormick and Casey Bailey to fill out the roster a bit.

The timing potentially couldn't  be worse for these injuries. Ottawa (68 pts.) was making hay in creeping closer to Atlantic Division leading Montreal (70 pts.) The Senators still hold two games in hand on the Habs, but also have to worry about Boston (66 pts.), Toronto (65 pts.) and the suddenly hot Florida Panthers (64 pts.)

With no room to breathe in the standings, the Senators will need a bit of good fortune when they hit the road for four straight games.

And that good fortune is in mighty low levels after this weekend.

NOTES AND NOTIONS:  The injury bug finally get Chris Neil back in the lineup but maybe it's a game too late. Ottawa could have used his rambunctious style against the Jets . . . Happy birthday Don Cherry (this past week). The Donald is now 83 but seems to be ageless. Hasn't lost a step . . . Hearing lots of chatter that Winnipeg's Patrik Laine is the front-running choice for rookie of the year. He's a marvelous talent but for an 'overall' game it's a no-brainer – Toronto's Auston Matthews. Face-offs, defensive zone coverage should figure into the decision-making . . . If there is indeed a lack of scoring in today's NHL, someone might want to tell the kids. As TSN points out – rookies Matthews, Laine and Toronto's Mitchell Marner are all on pace to eclipse the 70-point plateau this season. That's something that hasn't been done since 1992-93.

Tuesday: Buffalo 3, Ottawa 2
Thursday: Ottawa 3, New Jersey 0
Saturday: Ottawa 6, Toronto 3
Sunday: Winnipeg 3, Ottawa 2

Tuesday: Ottawa at New Jersey (7 pm)
Friday: Ottawa at Carolina (7:30 pm)
Sunday: Ottawa at Florida (7:30 pm)