Ross Arnold, blogger over at the Magnificent SB Nation Ottawa Senator blog Silver Seven, took some time to field a couple of questions in preparation for tomorrow night's matchup.
Kevin (LBC): The Senators currently seem to be the best of the seven Canadian clubs, yet find themselves sitting five points out of the final Eastern Conference wildcard slot. In your opinion, do you think there is a general consensus amongst the fans of the other North-of-the-Border teams to get behind the best horse running?
Ross (SS): In a word: no. As a Sens fan, I have a hard time getting behind the Leafs because of old rivalries and the Habs because of new rivalries. When the Canucks played the Bruins in the Cup final, I cheered for the Bruins because they had a few ex-Sens. I think the idea of "Canada's team" gives Canadian media outlets something to talk about, but very few fans get behind a team just because of where they're from. I'd be pretty shocked if the majority of Canadian fans got behind Ottawa just because they're the Canadian team with best shot at the playoffs.
Kevin: Erik Karlsson is the consensus best Ottawa player. He’s actually one of only seven NHL players who are averaging more than a point per game. What I want to know is who is the best Senator that we ‘murican’s haven’t heard of.
Ross: Mark Stone. He got some recognition down the stretch last year as his play led the Sens to the playoffs. What people didn't realize is the he'd been a force all season, he just didn't get top-line minutes until the end of the season. His greatest asset is his hands. The way he takes the puck from opposition players is so smooth and effortless. He seems to read the play effectively, and is always hyper-aware of where his teammates are on the ice. Plus he celebrates every goal like it's the greatest moment of his life which is really fun to watch.
Kevin: One of my biggest regrets as a Panthers’ fan is that the club couldn’t figure out a way to keep Craig Anderson to back up Roberto Luongo. Of course, soon after that, Luongo left, and Anderson was backstopping the Sens. It’s a little known fact that Anderson is the Panthers all-time career leader in save percentage (minimum 50 games), with .928. Against the Panthers since then, he has racked up a 12-5-2 record, a .935 save percentage, and a 2.04 goals against average. Is simple revenge the reason that he seems to have our number?
Ross: It's possible Andy gets hyped up against a team that gave up on him. I have no facts to back it up, but I think he's generally done well against Colorado since being traded to Ottawa by the Avalanche too. I'm guessing Anderson's stats against the Panthers have been padded by the fact that they haven't been an offensive force until the last couple years. But it's an interesting though - as an NHL goalie, do you have an extra bit of motivation playing against a team that gave up on you? I don't know if we'll ever know.
We'd like to thank Ross and Silver Seven for playing ball (puck) with us here. If you want to read my answers to his questions, check them out at Silver Seven. Follow us on twitter, like us on facebook, and check back frequently for developing Panthers' news.