• By: Dave Gross

Tumultuous season continues for Senators

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

Feature photo Courtesy NHLI via Getty Images (Andre Ringuette)

"May you live in interesting times."

It's an adage that adequately describes the Ottawa Senators, in that the phrase is not intended to portray a 'positive' message.

On the contrary.

And the Senators are indeed going through 'interesting' times.

Ones that make the eyes roll and the stomach clench.

This past week, the NHL club continued its freefall off the ice while following suit on the ice with an absolutely inexcusable first-period effort in Toronto – for all to see on Hockey Night in Canada.

First the butchery away from the game.

Another week, another exit from hockey operations. Much-ballyhooed team president and CEO Tom Anselmi is done.

Anselmi was either tossed to the side by team owner Eugene Melnyk or he simply did a 'Daniel Alfredsson' and walked out on his own accord.

Either way, it's another hole in Ottawa's management team.

And what odd timing. Anselmi was the guy brought in to jack up season ticket sales, but more importantly, lead the hockey club into a new home at LeBreton Flats.

Now he'll do neither.

Anselmi was here just more than a year after Melnyk sacked Cyril Leeder, one of the founders of the franchise.

Anselmi brought in a hefty and impressive resume. He worked for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment for almost two decades and was president of the organization in 2012. Earlier, he lead the Leafs transition from Maple Leaf Gardens to the Air Canada Centre (so, we can surmise he knows something about moving from an old rink into a new one).

It's a puzzler.

The same day, Melnyk announced a contract extension for general manager Pierre Dorion. The book is still out on Dorion, but to be honest, he doesn't get much help. Dorion's scouting staff is bare-bones; one of the smallest in the entire league.

Melnyk did add however, in a release, that that staff will soon be bolstered.

“Today’s announcement reflects a renewed commitment to scouting, drafting, and development,” Melnyk said in the release. “It may require changes to our lineup. Rest assured, we will only tolerate pain with an end game in mind: Building an organization that wins — at all levels — year in and year out.”

Yeah, OK.

The next night, the team Anselmi no longer runs was stunningly unprepared to play its provincial rival; a team the Senators despise.

It was a surprising lack of sweat and toil as the Senators came in on a bit of a roll – winning four of their last five.

And how bad was that first period?

Starter Craig Anderson was chased after 10 minutes and three goals; all-star Erik Karlsson was a big minus-2; and (yup) a too-many-men on the ice penalty – Ottawa's 12th of the season.

Toronto goes on to a 6-3 coaster.


You betcha.

NEWS, NOTES AND NOTIONS:  Ken Campbell, respected scripter for The Hockey News had this on the Alex Burrows' 10-games: "Alexandre Burrows must have thought the guys from (Department of Player Safety) had just fallen off a turnip truck. Unfortunately for him, they did not and he got the suspension he deserved." . . . This is a win for the Senators. They get rid of a guy who was taking up space and not producing much (or much of anything, really) and can dole out more ice time to the developing skaters . . . Matt Martin's done nothing wrong but the fact is, he's the odd man out in Toronto these days due to the superb play of Kasperi Kapanen . . . The Eastern Conference basement is in the safe hands of the Buffalo Sabres, a team that is actually better on the road then at home. That's nothing to get juiced over, the Sabres are five games under .500  away from Buffalo, which brings us to the infamous Harry Neale quote. Neale was coaching the moribund Vancouver Canucks in 1981-82 when he quipped: "Last season we couldn't win at home. This season we can't win on the road. My failure as a coach is I can't think of any place else to play." . . . Am I the only one who thinks Bobby Ryan took the phrase "all hands on deck!" a little too literally? . . . Hate to spout: "Told you so," but that Jaromir Jagr experiment in Calgary was a flame-out since the beginning. Told you so . . . In the case of building a hockey team, wouldn't hurt you to add a couple of Zach Hymans to the mix. Full throttle effort, all the time . . . If the Vezina Trophy voting kicked off in late November, Boston's Tuukka Rask would be a shoo-in. The B's stopper is 19-1-2 since then . . . Word is the Penguins are taking a hard look at bringing back (former Senator) Matt Cullen (from Minnesota) who was part of the Stanley Cup run last season. At 41, Cullen can still wheel . . . Stretching it: Mixed doubles curling at the Olympics . . . Wake me up when it's over? With NHLers not participating, there's zero interest from this corner in the Games' hockey tourney . . .  Love is in the air: (and you've gotta love it!) Spring Training for the Blue Jays' pitchers and catchers kicks off this week on Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, Feb. 13: Ottawa at Pittsburgh (7 pm)
Thursday, Feb. 15: Buffalo at Ottawa (7:30 pm)
Saturday, Feb. 17: NY Rangers at Ottawa (2 pm)