Per the Globe and Mail, this will be Bob Cole's last year calling games for HNIC and Harry Neale will see a reduced work load. I myself have mixed feeligns on this. Bob Cole still has one of the best voices from the booth in all of sports, but unfortunately his eye sight hasn't kept up. Harry Neal can still do it, but Cole really seems to bring him down. It really is unfortunate though as these two were amongst the elite of sports broadcasting for many years.
Many Sens fans have been scratching their heads about the Luke Richardson signing, comparing it to a Pat Quinn Leafs deal but if you look deeper, it makes a lot of sense.
Richardson is still a great leader and can play a simple, steady game. Not to mention he's still a tough s.o.b. Now he's not going to be challenging for a Norris by any means but as a 7th defenceman, he fits in perfectly. Here's why:
Before the signing, the Sens defensive corps next year consisted of Redden, Volchenkov, Phillips, Mezaros, Corvo and Schubert. A 7th defenceman was needed and it seems unlikely that any of Nycholat, Lee or Carkner could really fill a role as a defenceman who has to play minutes when the inevitable injuries hit. Nycholat is a sub 6ft d-man who has the potential to be a second rate Tom Preissing. Clearly a Preissing/Corvo pairing was too small last year and Murray never really trusted them in the SCF. Replacing Preissing with Nycholat would have meant that a slower, equally small person would be replacing him. With Murray's stated goal of getting bigger, this was clearly not the desired option.
Carkner is a big body type who would add size and grit, unforutnately he lacks the foot speed to keep up with the NHL these days and would be a major liability on the back end. (Think of a less polished Hal Gill.)
Lee didn't have the best of years last year and it seems that most are pegging him to spend at least one more year in the AHL for some needed seasoning.
Factor in that Schubert has a tendency to take dumb penalties and you're leaving yourself with a very young, front heavy defensive corps. As soon as Redden's hip acted up or another was out for a significant time you'd have to lean on one of the aformentioned as a 6th d-man. If two or more were out at the same time then you would have 2 of them in the line-up. Nycholat fit in alright last year for the little bit that he played, but he is not a long term solution. Having a 5th/6th pairing of two of Nycholat/Carkner/Lee would have been begging for trouble. Adding Richardson means that in the event of injury, a seasoned veteran could be counted on from time to time to eat up minutes without being a major liability. When you factor in his leadership ability and overall toughness (coupled with the ability to send him to the AHL if needed) and Richardson fits in nicely as a 7th d-man who won't mind sitting in the press box, can mentor some of the young blood and be a solid injury replacement when needed.
While he's obviously not a premier defensive talent in the league, Richardson adds some needed depth and leadership to a young defensive corps.