Ken Warren’s 10 Takes

 

 
 
 
 
Erik Karlsson (right) and Chris Phillips share a laugh at the boards after Karlsson took a pretty big hit from #4 during practice. Ottawa Senators practice at the Bell Sensplex Monday morning before heading off to Washington for another stint of away games.
 

Erik Karlsson (right) and Chris Phillips share a laugh at the boards after Karlsson took a pretty big hit from #4 during practice. Ottawa Senators practice at the Bell Sensplex Monday morning before heading off to Washington for another stint of away games.

Photograph by: JULIE OLIVER, OTTAWA CITIZEN

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean had no issue whatsoever with giving defenceman Erik Karlsson a day of rest Friday.

After all, Karlsson played a career regular season high of 34:35 Thursday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, scoring once and adding an assist. In Tuesday’s 2-0 win over the Washington Capitals, Karlsson played 29:57, which had been his busiest game since Nov. 28. Karlsson had an assist and six hits then. He is, once again, starting to look like a player who can dictate the pace of the game.

“As I’ve said all along, if he’s going, let’s get him out there,” said MacLean. “He seems to be effortless enough that he can just keep going. All he really needs is a day like (Friday) to get himself recovered and he’s usually ready to go.”

Relative to the rest of the NHL, the Senators have a decent, evenly-spaced schedule for the next little while, meaning Karlsson shouldn’t be overtaxed.

Now, read on for this week’s edition of 10 Takes, featuring the baffling Jekyll and Hyde Senators power play, a couple of ageless Sharks, an unlikely shootout candidate, a bad fashion statement and a little something for fans of horror movies.

And, no, I’m not talking about an Edmonton Oilers film session.

1. RIDDLE ME THIS

How is it possible that the Senators have the league’s best road power play (28.2 per cent) and the 29th worst home power play (11.8 per cent)? “When you get on a bit of a roll and you hear you’re good on the road, you think you’re good on the road on the power play,” said Senators captain Jason Spezza. “It’s just a confidence thing. And maybe at home we get a little tight. At home we simplify things too much.” Welcome to the hockey mind game.

2. CHRIS NEIL, SHOOTOUT SLEEPER?

Flip the Senators’ 2-6 shootout record around and they would be in a playoff spot. Is it time to resort to using someone like Chris Neil? “I would,” said Spezza. “He’s got a sneaky move. I don’t want to talk about it too much, so we’ll see. If we go deep in one (shootout), I think he’s got one that will make the highlights.” Apparently, it has nothing to do with punching the goalie.

3. SCHEDULE SNAFU

Excuse Kirk Muller if he thinks he’s back coaching in the AHL. Muller’s Carolina Hurricanes are in the midst of playing five games in seven days. After Saturday’s matinee against the Senators, the Hurricanes will host Columbus Monday and play in Montreal Tuesday. “Nobody’s going to feel sorry for you, nobody is going to care,” said Muller. “It was a gutsy effort (a 5-3 win over Buffalo Thursday). It was not an easy game and we knew it. A back-to-back game anywhere now is tough and now it’s going to be an afternoon game. That’s three games in three and a half days.”

4. SHARKS PAST AND FUTURE

Now that veteran forwards Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have signed extensions in San Jose, is 37-year-old defenceman Dan Boyle next? The Sharks already have $59.9 million committed to salaries for the 2014-15 season, but GM Doug Wilson has done an excellent job of keeping his old guard intact while also locking in younger talent like Logan Couture. That said, if any team wants to take on Martin Havlat’s $6 million salary ($5 million cap hit) for next season, he’s available.

5. TORTS RIGHT AND WRONG

The NHL coaching fraternity has some sympathy for the situation Vancouver’s John Tortorella faced when Bob Hartley began last Saturday’s game with fight-minded players. Tortorella, they say, had to counter with his roughest. If he had opted for the Sedin twins, for instance, he would have lost the respect of his players and run the risk of potential serious injury. As for Tortorella’s decision to run around the rink to confront Hartley, however, several coaches say it tarnishes the image of the game in non-traditional hockey markets.

6. FASHION FAUX PAS

Minnesota’s Zach Parise received some good-natured ribbing from teammates this week after modelling the gaudy Ralph Lauren-designed U.S. Olympic uniform. No wonder. At a retail price of $25,000, you would think the Americans could produce something that doesn’t hurt your eyes when you look at it. At least the kaleidoscope suits sported by the Norwegian curlers are meant to be a joke.

7. NHL FIRST, COUNTRY SECOND

While the race is on to see if Tampa’s Steve Stamkos can recover from his broken leg in time to play for Canada in the Olympics, the New York Islanders have already are shut the door on Lubomir Visnovsky representing Slovakia. Visnovsky, aiming to play in his fifth Olympics, has been out with a concussion since October and Islanders GM Garth Snow says team doctors won’t clear him for the Games. Apparently, pride of country is giving way to the big picture. “I don’t want to go there and kill my team by playing,” Visnovsky told Newsday.

8. (HOCKEY) COUNTRY SONG

You’ve got to love Tampa coach Jon Cooper’s assessment about what makes a successful hockey coach: “My wife would tell you that it takes one understanding spouse, a loyal dog and one hell of a good goaltender.” Spot on. In case you haven’t noticed, Ben Bishop now has 25 wins, third in the NHL before Friday’s games.

9. CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME

Tampa owner Jeff Vinik continues to put his stamp on the Tampa community. In what is becoming an off-ice highlight at every home game, Vinik donates a $50,000 cheque to a deserving non-profit charity, part of the Lightning Community Heroes program. Vinik will eventually donate $10 million over five years.

10. FOR WALKING DEAD FANS

Philadelphia goalie Steve Mason has given some respect — albeit, somewhat creepy respect — to teammates Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds. Mason’s new mask features zombielike caricatures of Giroux and Simmonds. Mason also has a zombie figure painted on his stick. Call me old fashioned: I kind of miss the good old days of plain old white masks — like the kind Jason Voorhees of Friday The 13th fame used to rock.

Twitter.com/Citizenkwarren

 
 
 
Font:
 
 
 
 
Erik Karlsson (right) and Chris Phillips share a laugh at the boards after Karlsson took a pretty big hit from #4 during practice. Ottawa Senators practice at the Bell Sensplex Monday morning before heading off to Washington for another stint of away games.
 

Erik Karlsson (right) and Chris Phillips share a laugh at the boards after Karlsson took a pretty big hit from #4 during practice. Ottawa Senators practice at the Bell Sensplex Monday morning before heading off to Washington for another stint of away games.

Photograph by: JULIE OLIVER, OTTAWA CITIZEN

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your voice