NHL Presence Not Likely To Sink 67’s….Yet


The Ottawa 67’s were back at the Civic Center this week but not for game one against Oshawa, to clean out their lockers.  They let a 2-0 series slip away and lost to the Niagara IceDogs in six.

In a year where they picked up the pieces, it’s a great feel-good story, it just came crashing down in the most heartbreaking of ways.

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The penalty

Michigan basketball fans have Chris Webber’s timeout, Ottawa 67’s fans have the broken visor penalty.

Sure, the former was played out on a much bigger scale and with much more on the line, but it’s the same feeling the respective fans are left with, a disbelief that that’s how the season ends.

Trailing by one with 50 seconds left in game six, Sam Studnicka was called for illegal equipment, playing with a broken visor.

The call essentially ended any hopes of a comeback and put a cherry on top of Ottawa’s terrible one-week collapse, blowing a 2-0 series lead and bowing out.

Not pleased

When Jeff Brown joined the 67’s he gave his squad, with two back-to-back finishes in the East’s basement, a “why not us” mentality.  He insisted on locker cleanout day that he expects to shoot for the moon next year, but that the team needs to fill holes on defence.

​NHL effect

Luckily, the NHL won’t decimate the 67’s impressive core the way it did to an already-depleted team when Calgary, perhaps the only top-10 team in the 2013 draft who would’ve rushed a two-way center into the NHL at 18, took Sean Monahan.

Travis Konecny is one of the biggest high-risk-high-reward pick from the 2015 draft class, he won’t go pro next year.  Liam Herbst, Dante Salituro and Jeremiah Addison will all be later picks.

The biggest concern seems to be behind the bench, that Jeff Brown’s coaching style would be more effective in the NHL.

Brown, when hired, made it clear he came to Ottawa to coach the junior team he grew up watching, his childhood intertwined with a time before the Senators where the Barberpoles were the sports team to watch in Ottawa.

He’s made it clear he chose the OHL.  He chose it over the USHL and quite likely, he chose it over an NHL assistant’s job.

It’s possible they lose their bench boss in the next few years to the pro ranks, but he isn’t likely to go anywhere just yet​.

Other than the almost-imminent Alex Lintuniemi assignment in the AHL, and the age-related graduations to Brendan Bell and Curtis Meighan, this team in its prime shouldn’t be too decimated next year.

Now all they have to worry about is getting a top defenceman.  Or two, or three.

Photo courtesy of Valerie Wutti