Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Importance of Being Earnest

Whatever you do for a living, hard work and good attitude are kind of a big deal.

Consider the cases of Senator newcomers Colin Greening and Nikita Filatov, both natural left wingers. Greening's hockey resume is much like that of a third or fourth line grinder.  Good collegiate player, captain of his team, a 7th rounder with very run-of-the-mill stats.  Filatov was captain of Russian World Junior team and considered one of the best 18 year olds in the world in the 2008 draft, going 6th overall.

Yet it's Greening who has played in every game and succeeded on the Senators' top line and power play.  Meanwhile, Filatov has played just 4 games, now getting 5-6 minutes of ice time a night.  Opportunity came knocking for Greening, mostly because his work ethic and attitude are off the charts.

Greening had just one goal in 23 AHL playoff games last season - 12th in Binghamton scoring.  Not a first liner resume.  He earned the chance because of character, shown late last season and again this year.  Now Greening is probably shocking even himself at how well he's clicked with Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek so far.  He's been like a missing puzzle piece.  I don't see him being a possible 30 goal man as some do, but you've got to keep rolling with it for now.

Filatov, even with his early struggles, could have been the one to get a very long look at that top left wing spot early in the season.  However, he immediately annoyed his coach in the first week of the season.  At one practice, Paul Maclean yelled to Filatov and Bobby Butler, “You guys want to be part of this or what?”  Filatov was in the minors after 2 appearances.  

Filatov's interviews still range from smug to impatient to slightly arrogant.  He also famously retreated back to the KHL in the middle of Columbus' season last year, impossible to overlook in a discussion about character. 
Top line minutes are really his only chance to find confidence and success with this team.  Instead, he's getting 5 minutes a night, playing with Jesse Winchester and Zenon Konopka.  Hopefully, he finds his way, either here or in the AHL.  If not, he might be back in the KHL by Christmas. By the way, Monday is the 2 year anniversary of Filatov's last NHL goal.

There's a moral to this story.  Something like, if you have a poor attitude and work ethic, you won't do well in this world. But then Jungle defies that logic every single day.  So, you know, forget I mentioned it.


Anonymous said...

Not sure if it's attitude for Filatov. I just don't think he is ready for the NHL at the moment. He can't play Top 6 because he lacks confidence right now, and he can't play bottom 6 because of his size and because his skill set clearly belongs in a greater role.

He needs to go back to the AHL, not sure why they called him up right now. Let him stay down there for a much longer stint than 8 games. Kurt Kleinendorst will help him on and off the ice and will improve his attitude.

Filatov just might be a player who is an AHL star and just cannot crack it in the NHL.

Matthew Kirkpatrick said...

The list of Russian players with bad attitudes is a long one. Kudos to Murray for nutting up and taking a chance on Filatov. Kudos to MacLean for nutting up and sending him packing

TSNFAN said...

This is one of the most ignorant, idiotic columns I've seen from an Ottawa sports commentator, and that's saying a lot. See Don Brennan.

Where do I start? How about the glowing reports of Filatov's attitude from the person best able to answer questions about it, Kurt Klinendorst. How about the complete lack of examples of his "poor" interviews other than a blanket description of how you "felt" his demeanor was.

How about pointing out that Filatov hasn't been given a fair shake at that LW spot that greening is taking up? 2 games? One of which he got a point in? The second game where he was taken out of his comfort zone and moved to RW?

How many games has Greening been moved to RW and excelled?

GIANT Come on Man to you steve warne, remember this is supposed to be a CLEAN SLATE year.

Slagging a prospect who in NO ONE'S eyes has been given a real chance to succeed at the NHL level in Ottawa is Bush league.

Steve Warne said...


You make some interesting points. I'd actually be keen to spend some time with you here, engaging you in a good, healthy debate. However, you're far too insulting to bother with.

Peter Raaymakers said...

You know what's probably got a lot to do with the details you've perceived? Age. And yet, it doesn't seem to matter to you that Greening is 25 years old, while Filatov is only 21.

Most of what you refer to has to do with maturity. That comes with time.

I do wonder, why don't you compare Greening to both Filatov and Butler? You mention both of them in your telling quote from Paul MacLean, but don't question Butler's work ethic or attitude, despite the fact that he's fallen into MacLean's doghouse as quickly as Filatov.

A contrast of Butler and Greening would have been much more appropriate, given their similar ages (Butler is 24) and similar career arcs through American college. But you fall back on the clich├ęd, ignorant argument of the self-entitled Russian forward coming in with expectations--an argument that belies everything I've seen from Filatov so far.

When Colin Greening was 21 years old, he looked about as far from an NHL prospect as a drafted player can be. Had the Senators (and the media writing about them) given up on him then, the team would have missed out on someone who might turn into the best power-forward in the modern history of the organization.

So why write off Filatov after just a couple of months?

Anonymous said...

I red all his interview in Russian after his moving to KHL, not English translate and I would like to see where he was arrogant or ignorant. Because I did not find anything similar. I was suprised some ... strange... translates to English.

TSNFAN said...

I'm going to post a retraction of part of my above comment. While i VEHEMENTLY disagree with both the tone and content of the author's blog, it was wrong of me to call it idiotic and ignorant, as was my comparing him to Don Brennan.

While I believe the comparison of Filatov to Greening was unfair for a number of reasons, It does not excuse the above name calling.

I don't know whether or not the author even reads the comments section, but if he does, then I apologize.


and I didn't even notice that you DID respond to the comment I made. Yes I was insulting, and it wasn't called for, you won't see it again.

Steve Warne said...

Nice. It's getting reasonable in here. I appreciate that.

Boys, I think the tone of the blog may have come off as though I'm writing off Filatov. I am not. I was my theory as to why such a golden opportunity went to Greening and not Filatov.

The thought process was as follows.

Filatov is getting no ice time right now. No one you hope can be a sniper can develop like that. Cam Neely is a great example. In Vancouver, they didn't use him much. After he was traded to Boston he got tons of ice time and thrived.

My play coming out of camp would be to see what I have in Filatov, to see if he can blossom into something that the entire hockey world thought he could be at the 2008 draft. To do that and to find that confidence, he needs big minutes alongside Spezza. I think that's pretty conventional wisdom.

So why did they give Colin Greening the shot when he has such an inferior resume? Why didn't they give Filatov more time?
This blog is my attempt at answering that.

That doesn't mean I'm writing off Filatov but I suppose I am prepared to do that if he never gets to play with Spezza for an extended period.

Thanks for your comments guys and have a good weekend. Drop me a line anytime.

Donnamatrix said...


I'm surprised it took 8 comments for someone to agree with your work ethic analogy to Jimmy in your closing statement!

The 20-something who had an interview at a Subway, today, must be an avid TGOR (correct that) JUNGLE listener. I actually overheard him say, 'I don't want to work weekends and I'm available only M-W after 11am to 6pm...I'm launching my own clothing line' if!!

Well, at least someone picked up on Jimmy's work ethic!

Peter Raaymakers said...

Fair enough, Steve, that's a question you've got to ask. But I think you're overstating a few things in putting together this picture of Filatov as a smug, impatient, or arrogant player. Granted, I've never interviewed Filatov, but from what I've read of interviews with him, I don't see what you're seeing.

Let's look at Filatov's time in Ottawa: He cut short a personal vacation in the summer to come to the city and train with some players, went through a pretty strong--if unspectacular--training camp, and then after just two games with Ottawa, he was sent to the AHL. His reaction was as positive as you could possibly expect, and he said the right things before heading down and putting up five points in seven games with Bingo. And despite playing just a few minutes a game since being recalled, he hasn't been moaning about unfair treatment.

There's no denying that Greening has outworked and outplayed Filatov. But that doesn't mean Filatov has a poor attitude or work ethic, and it doesn't mean he won't do well in this world. It just means he's still got plenty of work to do, and, lucky for Filatov, he's got four years in hand on Greening.

Steve Warne said...

Even if I remove my opinion of Filatov's demeanour for something more fact-based (i.e. The coach calling him out at practice), the fact remains Greening's attitude is superior.

The "won't do well in this world" reference probably is unfair. It was added mostly for the random mocking of Jungle. :)