Mack’s Mailbag: The Senator

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Do you think (Da Costa) will make the Senators roster?
Still too early to tell. He played well in their exhibition opener against Boston on Wednesday night, logging almost 19:00 of ice time centering the second line. If Da Costa makes the NHL club, it will be as the second line pivot. That’s the issue. The Senators need a second line center. Da Costa, if he’s not in the top-6, is probably better suited to play top-6 minutes in the AHL. He doesn’t play the style most NHL teams put on their third or especially fourth lines. He’s not a grinder. He’s not a banger. He’s a skilled player. You’re not utilizing him correctly if he’s not logging 15-17 minutes per night with time on the power play.
From a paycheck standpoint, I’m sure he’d take any role in the show he can get. The paycut he’d take going to the A is substantial. But from a development standpoint, the Senators will send him to Binghamton to center the first or second line before they put him on their third or fourth NHL line.
You know, in reality, he could play on the third line if there were power-play time involved. That position has evolved a bit. More teams roll out three scoring lines now as opposed to two scoring lines, a defensive line (the third line) and a hitting line (the fourth line).
We’ll see. All reports read that he showed up to camp with some added muscle and has been impressive thus far.

Who is your pick to win Hockey East?
You’ll have to stay tuned to my previews.

Will Merrimack’s opener against Maine be on TV?
It might be on the WABI station up in Bangor, but I’m not sure. Locally for Merrimack fans, it will not be televised.

When does the team start practicing? Are they open to the public? What about a Blue-Gold game?
Captains’ practices have already started, as they have at every school. Real practices start Oct. 1 and I’m not sure if they are open to the public. You’ll have to check with the athletic department on that one. As for a Blue-Gold game, I haven’t heard a thing, but I’m sure I will if they run one and I’ll post it here for sure.

What do you think of Alex Chiasson at BU? 
He’s easily one of the best forwards in the league. Headed into his junior year now, I think he’ll come into his own and be one of the league’s scoring leaders. His teammate, Charlie Coyle, could do the same. Same goes for John Henrion at UNH and a few others. It’s seems like this year is a changing of the guard when it comes to the household names in the league. There will be a lot of fresh stars made this season.

Did you play in the golf tournament (Monday)? What a great day. They did a real great job putting that together.
I did play. It was my first time playing Black Swan (the old Georgetown Country Club) and I was surprised how challenging it was. Men played from the Blues so it made the course longer. There were also a few holes where some surprises came out of nowhere. There was one hole where the fairway actually split by some woods, and you could approach from either direction. There was another hole where I thought I didn’t put enough of a fade on my second shot (on a par 5). Turns out that there was a small pond hidden on the left side and I just missed going swimming.
It’s always a great day when you can skip out on some real work for a day on the golf course.

Rampage or Bones Jone? And did you see the Mayweather-Ortiz fight? What did you think?
You love your MMA questions … If Quinton Jackson were still in his prime, I think he’d give Jon Jones a run for his money. But Jones is too good, too young, and Rampage is a shell of his former self. I think Jones knocks him out, fairly easily, in the first or second round in a dominant victory.
And yes, I watched the Mayweather-Ortiz fight. I wasn’t alone being really disappointed with the result. Joe Cortez has a great resume as an official, but he looked terrible in that fight.

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