Wolanin heads home today, the tale behind the Sens' specific Gatorade flavours and more before today's matinee in Detroit.
1. Homecoming for Wolanin
It's a game he marked on his calendar the moment he signed his entry-level contract earlier this month and now Christian Wolanin gets set to play his first NHL game in Detroit.
"After I signed, I was looking at the remaining schedule and saw the game against the Red Wings which has always been a dream," said Wolanin. "When I saw that it was in Detroit it made it even cooler."
Wolanin's dad Craig was born in Grosse Point, a waterfront city adjacent to Detroit and he spent the bulk of his childhood growing up in Michigan. As expected, he should have a decent sized cheering section inside Little Caesar's Arena tonight.
"I probably have about 10-12 family members coming to the game," he said. "But if you count family friends, high school friends, my girlfriend and her family it's probably closer to 40 people."
2. The great Gatorade mystery of 2018
All right. Let's get real. I spend a lot of time watching the Sens practice and something has bothered me for a while. At every skate/practice there are always three varieties of drinks lined up along the boards by the bench and they are always the same: water, blue Gatorade and yellow Gatorade.
Personal tastes aside (I'd rank blue and yellow outside my top 5 Gatorade flavours for instance), that's a pretty repetitive line-up so I thought I'd ask around and see if my take on the lack of variety was correct.
"I've been saying it all year," said Mike Condon. "I've been getting on the equipment staff here to mix it up a little bit and add some variety. Let's get that Glacier Cherry Frost in here at least but I think you need at least 500 games under your belt before you can start making demands like that."
So maybe one of the veterans has a blue and yellow only request? Is there perhaps a deeper meaning to those colours? That's when my journalistic instincts uncovered a new piece of evidence.
"I know what it stands for though," said Fredrik Claesson about the chosen colours. "It's for all the Swedes (laughs). Our captain is Swedish too so I think that's why it is the way it is."
That's some potentially game changing info but before we go down the rabbit hole trying to unwind the hidden messages in the flavours of Gatorade available at practice, let's get back on track and play a little armchair quarterback with the beverage selection. For me, it doesn't get much better than grape (aka purple) but very few people care about my opinion. So what about the players?
"I like the pink one," said Claesson. "And then the darker pink one. I like those two: pink and darker pink."
Through some research, I think Freddy is talking about Frost Rain Berry (pink) and Fierce Strawberry (dark pink) but that's pure speculation on my part.
"Gatorade has been getting out there with some wild flavours," shared Condon. "Remember the clear one? That one was pretty good. The fact that it didn't need colour just proves it's nutritional value and how good it was for you."
Wild theories and listing potential replacements are all fun and good but sometimes the truth is a little more logical and that turns out to be the case here as well. I went to the source and spoke with the equipment staff and it turns out that they are limited in what flavours they can order because they need the bottles with the twist cap for obvious reasons. Makes sense, you don't want an entire team of players sipping out of the classic bottles. And then of those flavours that are available with the handy spray nozzle, blue and yellow are the two that "stain the least" which I can see why that's being taking into consideration.
So there you have it. Case closed...
So we're set to flip the calendar again tomorrow and I thought I'd take a quick look back at a few of the Sens stat leaders for March...
- Erik Karlsson (12GP) and Matt Duchene (15GP) lead the Sens in points this month with 15 apiece.
- Karlsson has points in 8 of his last 10 games and a total of 12 points (3G, 9A) over that span.
- No surprise but Mike Hoffman (47 SOG) leads the team in shots in March but...
- Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who is averaging 1.84 shots/game this season, fired 7 on net on Thursday. He also set a career-high with 8 shots earlier this season on March 8th against the Sabres which puts him second this month with 46 SOG.
- Cody Ceci currently leads the Sens in the month of March in blocked shots (33), shorthanded time on ice (35:09) and shifts (461).
- Mark Borowiecki (84) hilariously has twice as many hits as the next closer Senator (Claesson w/ 42) so far this month.
4. Previous meeting
These teams last met back on January 3rd in Detroit where Andreas Athanasiou's second goal of the night would be the game winner just 6 seconds into overtime. Ryan Dzingel had the lone Senators' goal in defeat while Craig Anderson was solid, stopping 33 of the 35 shots he faced.
Full hightlights from that game below...
Video: OTT Recap: Anderson makes 33 saves in 2-1 OT loss
5. Where to watch
It's a 2 p.m. start in Detroit so if you're looking for a prime spot to catch the game this afternoon, why not hit up Jonny Canuck's on Woodroffe? It's a great place to catch a Sens game and today they'll be serving up pints of Molson Canadian for just $6.50.