Evgenii Dadonov ready to coach young Senators teammates


Say goodbye to puppy Bobby Ryan signs and hello to “Who’s your daddy?”Evgenii ‘Daddy’ Dadonov spoke to reporters via Zoom on Monday about his enthusiasm to join the Ottawa Senators as a free agent, and he took a moment to congratulate former Florida Panthers coach Bob Boughner, for giving him the word “daddy”.

Boughner, weighing a Russian family name of three syllables and a Russian name of three syllables, said to Dadonov, “I’ll call you daddy.” ”

Much to the relief of his teammates, the name stuck.

Fittingly, the player known as Daddy will play a veteran and mentor role for a young Senators roster. In conversations with general manager Pierre Dorion and head coach DJ Smith, Dadonov was offered a host of opportunities in Ottawa, including the chance to play plenty of minutes.

“They told me that I would have a good role in the team because there are not a lot of veterans in the team,” Dadonov said. “It’s time for me to become one of the more experienced guys on the team. I am ready for this.

Dadonov, 31, has just finished three consecutive seasons of more than 25 goals with the Panthers. He says he spoke with six or seven NHL teams during the free will period that began on October 9 and moved to Ottawa because he saw a chance to be a part of something special with a growing team. His three-year contract has an average annual value of $ 5 million.

“I am really excited to play for this team,” he said. “It was not a decision taken because of the contract – I hope this team will be successful and be in the race for the Cup for the next few years. ”

Asked about Ottawa’s best young players, Dadonov believes defenseman Thomas Chabot and forward Brady Tkachuk “have a chance to be league superstars.”

Some have already scored Dadonov on the right side of a line with Tkachuk and center Josh Norris, but with the first skates of training camp in several weeks, Dadonov doesn’t care who his line mates might be.

“Tkachuk is a good player, a powerful striker,” Dadonov said. “There are a lot of good young guys. I spoke to the coach and GM and they told me Norris played well in the minors last year, scores a lot of goals, is quite skillful and a good player.

“I know Tim Stuetzle who was drafted third in the overall standings, he’s supposed to be very good, talented.

“There are highly qualified players. The team has talent. ”

And that will be Smith’s job to fix.

“I can play with anyone,” Dadonov said. “I don’t mean ‘I want to play with this guy or that guy.’ It will be the decision of the coach.

Smith and Dorion managed to sell Dadonov on the Senators’ style of play – a tempo with strong forward check and a power play that could use a scoring winger after the departures of Anthony Duclair and Bobby Ryan.

“We know he’s going to be on the first power play because he has a proven track record on the power play,” said Dorion. In fact, almost half of Dadonov’s 25 goals came with the man advantage (11).

Dorion said he liked that Dadonov was scoring “legitimate goals,” with a quick release and a hard shot.

Dadonov spoke to several current Ottawa players before signing and noted that they all had good things to say about the city and the organization. He says he knows “all the Russian guys” on the team, including Nikita Zaitsev and Artem Anisimov on the NHL roster. He also trained for a few years during the offseason with Senators prospect Vitaly Abramov, who hails from Dadonov’s hometown of Chelyabinsk.

Panthers’ third-round pick (71st overall) in 2007, it took Dadonov years to establish himself in the NHL, but that also means he doesn’t have as many tough miles on his body as some players 31 years in the NHL.

Dadonov spent five years in the KHL from 2012 to 2017 before becoming the goalscorer he would become at the NHL level. From 2017 to 2020, Dadonov played in all but eight of Florida’s regular-season games, and placed third among the Panthers with 182 points (81 goals, 101 assists).

Dadonov was asked what he could bring from his experience with the Panthers, a team that threatened to fight.

“I hope I can contribute a lot,” he said, “especially the attitude I have – work hard, train and play hard. And I hope to bring more skills to the team.

“I’ll try to do my best. Hope the team will step up. ”

Do you play in a Canadian market?

Not much, says Dadonov.

“I love to play hockey no matter where – in Canada, Florida or Russia.

Bell Capital Cup postponed indefinitely

The 22nd edition of the Capital Bell Cup in Ottawa, billed as the largest atom and peewee hockey tournament in the world, will not take place as planned between December 28 and the first week of the new year.

The Ottawa International Hockey Festival board of directors announced Monday that due to concerns about COVID-19, the tournament will be postponed and possibly canceled until next year. In a statement, the OIHF council said given the current coronavirus count and restrictions in amateur hockey, it was not possible to host the tournament. The board also cited the health risks for volunteers, spectators and participants.

“The OIHF is committed to playing a major role in celebrating the return to hockey in its fullest form when it becomes safe to do so,” the statement read. “In the meantime, the tournament board will continue to explore all options, including holding a tournament later in the winter or rescheduling the 22nd edition to its usual time next winter. Further updates will be announced as the situation evolves and when public health, government and hockey governing bodies deem it prudent to resume the tournament.


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