Yesterday, the Ottawa Senators missed a big chance to prove to the rest of the league that they are no longer the pushovers physically that apparently they had become known as. Like it or not, the Sens had Matt Kassian dressed for a reason, and we all know what that reason is. It certainly wasn’t for his offensive upside.
However, what good is having a so-called nuclear deterrent on the bench occupying a roster spot if you are not going to deploy it? Otherwise, he is just weighing the bench down, as Phil stated earlier on Sunday.
Yes, while many would not like it, Kassian should have taken the opportunity to take Dustin Byfuglien to the woodshed for running Robin Lehner. That is the situation, up by 2 or 3 goals that you wouldn’t mind killing off an instigator penalty and perhaps more by sending Kassian out to just grab Byfuglien and take a round out of him.
If that wasn’t the situation to give the guy a tap on the shoulder and “the nod”, then what is? I know during the last 10 minutes of a game an instigator penalty may carry an additional game and the coach could get a $10,000 fine. So be it. That is what I would want my enforcer to do. Send the message that certain actions will not be tolerated and fly-bys through the crease almost KO’ing the goalie is definitely one of them.
If Kassian isn’t going to resolve that situation, or if Paul MacLean isn’t going to let him/tell him to, then he might as well be in the press box or in Binghamton, because he will have the same amount of impact on the game from there.
I don’t care if Kassian fights John Scott or Chris Thorburn or Colton Orr in a staged fight just because both guys feel that if they don’t, then the enforcer role will be eliminated. IF that player is going to dress, in my mind it is for the exact reason and opportunity that the Senators passed up on Sunday.
The Sens missed a chance to send the message.