The idea of the National League to organize Senators games in Quebec did not arouse unanimity, but for Mathieu Joseph, there is good in the project, if it materializes.
Posted at 12:52 p.m.
The new Senators forward, freshly acquired from the Lightning two weeks ago, said he was in favor of the idea. Recall that last week, brother Denis Lessard argued that discussions had “begun” between the Legault government, the National League, Quebecor and the Ottawa Senators so that the team plays five games at the Videotron Center next season.
” I heard about it. It would be costs to play in Quebec, spontaneously replied Joseph, at the end of the morning training of the Senators, Tuesday, for the duel scheduled for the evening against the Canadian.
“It’s a beautiful amphitheater, the Videotron Center. It would be good for the people of Quebec to have NHL games. It’s a great hockey town. I haven’t known the Nordics, but I know the love for them would be huge. For us it would be costs to play in another amphitheater and in front of Quebec it would be costs for me. »
Obviously, if the project materializes, the Players Association would have a say. In effect, Senators players would essentially play 46 games away from home, rather than 41, which wouldn’t necessarily please everyone.
On the other hand, from a financial point of view, the players’ union could benefit from it since the NHL could generate better revenues if we manage to present the games in front of full houses. The Senators come to 32and rank in the NHL for crowds this season (average of 8,079 spectators per game according to ESPN), but COVID-19 restrictions are obviously partly responsible for the situation. That said, Ottawa was also in last place during the last pre-pandemic campaign, in 2019-20, with an average of 12,618 spectators. You have to go back to the 2015-16 campaign to find the Senators in the NHL’s top 20 for crowds.
“I played two years at the Videotron Centre, recalled Joseph, referring to his four seasons with the Saint John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL. Once it was full and that was something. There is always a nice atmosphere there. »
It has not even been three weeks since the last duel between the two teams of Andreas Dackell. But the Senators will present an unrecognizable offense, and we’re not saying that because Tyler Ennis will be missing.
It is that Joseph has been added to the team in the meantime and has been inserted into the first line, while Drake Batherson, incandescent at the start of the season, will play his fifth game since his return to the game.
Batherson has two points in four games since recovering from an ankle injury. But the former Armada and Screaming Eagles led the Senators with 34 points in 31 games when he fell in action.
“He’s getting better and better. His synchronicity returns. It’s a long time to miss nine weeks in this league,” said Senators head coach DJ Smith.
Joseph has amassed seven points in his last two games. Stuck in a support role with the team that drafted him, the Lightning, he gets his first real chance to assert himself in an offensive line. In the last game, he spent 20 minutes on the ice, a high for him in 227 NHL games.
It is obviously that going from a mature team to a team full of young people has something to do with it. “The Lightning have won two Cups in a row, so there were plenty of offensive players in front of them,” Smith recalled.
“Obviously the roles are different, depending on your team. But every time I get on, I want to score, be good in my zone and compete,” added Joseph. No matter the team, I want to do this. But then, it’s my results and the way I play that will determine whether I play on the power play, on the disadvantage and at the end of the game. »
That said, his time in use suggests he will have a better chance of producing such “results” in Ottawa. Joseph, let us remember, had been an end choice of 4and tour in 2015. He produced some interesting offensive stats in the junior and in the American League. Could he establish himself as a top-two player in the NHL? His coach offered a nuanced response.
“Is he the typical second line player who scores and makes plays? I do not know. But he’s the complementary guy who does all the work and has more talent than people think. It’s been a long time since he’s had the puck so much. He plays with confidence. By dint of playing, we hope that he will go back to the way he was in the juniors and the American League, when he was amassing points. »
In the meantime, his arrival allows the Senators to better balance the attack, since Batherson has been transferred to a unit with the very fast Alex Formenton and the ultra talented Tim Stützle.
Probable formation of the Senators
- Del Zotto-Hamonic