(Ed. note: This is a sponsored post for Jo Innes. If you want me to write about any old thing in hockey, all you have to do is donate $50 below. It’s easy and fun. Bye.)
If there’s one thing the Senators need in their attempts to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second year in a row, it’s… well obviously it’s for Erik Karlsson’s achilles to reassemble itself 100 percent and be ready to play tomorrow.
But if there’s two things the Senators need it’s… okay well I mean there’s Jason Spezza getting healthy too, but that’s going to come relatively soon, I’m pretty sure. But if there’s three things the Senators need, well, I could do this all day. The fact of the matter is that one thing the Senators definitely did not need is to acquire Matt Kassian from the Minnesota Wild for a 2014 sixth-round pick yesterday.
Here’s a real quote from general manager Bryan Murray on why the Senators went out and acquired a player who has nine games under his belt this season, all of them at the AHL level:
“He’s a big strong guy, he’s a very physical player, he’s a very willing combatant. With the number of young players and injuries we have on our roster, there has got to be a sense of comfort that they can go out and play without being pushed around, which has happened a couple times here so we just felt it was a need and an addition that, given the opportunity to get one, a guy like this, a big guy, he’s a young player and we’re hoping that he’ll work with our coaches and be a real contributor to our team.”
That’s an awful lot of words to say, “The other teams in the Northeast have some fighters and we don’t,” but that’s the general thrust of it. At 6-foot-4 and 232 pounds, Kassian is a big boy. He also sucks at hockey. And so the Senators’ decision to use him in the lineup (albeit “at the coach’s discretion,” according to Murray) seems like it would be not at all conducive to winning.
It’s true that the Senators didn’t have a true fighter in the lineup. Hit-and-run pukes like Chris Neil don’t count, because he at least has some amount of value to the team outside punching guys in the face. This reeks of remorse for letting Zenon Konopka walk, coincidentally to the Wild, and even then, at least Konopka wins draws pretty effectively. The list of hockey things outside of fighting that Kassian does pretty effectively begins and probably ends with skating without falling down most of the time.
It seemed to me that the Senators were a just-okay hockey team last year, but one that wisely stepped out of the Northeast Arms Race that saw Montreal and Buffalo bulk up in order to better physically compete with the Bruins and Leafs. Somehow, their currently being fifth in the East despite being not-that-great and then suffering all those catastrophic injuries on top of it isn’t enough for Murray, and he has to try to make Paul MacLean waste a roster spot to put this bum into the lineup five minutes a night.
I’ll remind you again that Kassian only has nine games this season in the AHL. Obviously losing a sixth-round pick next year is almost the NHL equivalent of giving up nothing, but even that’s too much. The only thing I can think is maybe Murray thought he was getting a steal by acquiring Zack Kassian from the wrong team.
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