Sens news of the day:
–The Ottawa Sun‘s Bruce Garrioch wonders what David Rundblad will do if he doesn’t make the team (link), discussing it with Erik Karlsson who had a lot to say about it. “For me, I was so close to making the team, for me it was necessary to go down (to Binghamton). It’s up to (Rundblad) and management to see how close he is to making the team and if it’s worth it for him to go down there or to go back to Sweden and come back next year. If you want to make the team, you’ve got to stay here. If you go home, you’ve got to wait until next year to make the team and even then you may have to go down (to the AHL) anyways. It’s just a personal thing — what’s best for you and what you think is best for you. It’s a totally different game [here]. You basically have to change all the things you do on the ice that you used to do on the big ice. One-on-one battles are completely different and the way the game is played is not the same. You don’t always have as much time as you want and it’s just a matter of adjusting to it. If you’re here, you’re a good player and you can handle it. It’s just a matter of getting used to the (differences). We’ll see what happens, but you can make the adjustments. It takes some people longer than others.” One correction for both Karlsson and Garrioch–he made the team his rookie year, spending most of October with the team before going down to Binghamton for a month.
-Garrioch also provides injury updates: “Chris Phillips, troubled by stiffness in his back, is expected to skate Friday on his own. Matt Carkner is doubtful to start the season along with Jesse Winchester.”
–Chris Neil (in the same article) wasn’t surprised he didn’t receive disciplinary action from his collision with Mikhail Grabovski. Besides saying the Toronto media blew everything up, he mentioned Dion Phaneuf‘s hit to the head on Tim Conboy that wasn’t even reviewed. Something worth remembering as Shanahan continues handing down suspensions.
-Paul MacLean made interesting comments in Allen Panzeri’s Ottawa Citizen article (link), “We know and he knows that he needs to work without the puck and defend in his own end, and that’s still a process that he’s going through. But the way that he moves the puck and exits our zone and makes plays that get us out of our zone, that’s something that’s still very attractive to us.” This should give some pause to those who want Rundblad sent down; for those of us who have watched the pre-season and seen how much difficulty Ottawa’s blueliners have had making passes to start the rush out of their own end it’s a skill the team desperately needs. My sentiment has always been to pair him with a stay-at-home defender and let him learn as he goes.
-TSN has their preview of the Senators up (link). It’s more a description of the team than analysis of the how’s and why’s of their season. They like Ottawa’s prospects, “The good news for Ottawa is that the cupboard is bursting with top-end talent. The Senators were one of the busiest teams at the NHL draft, stepping up to the podium three times in the first round. The prize out of that class is skilled Swedish centre Mika Zibanejad, taken sixth overall. The Senators immediately signed him to an entry-level deal and expectations will be high. Beyond Zibanejad, the team added skilled forwards Stefan Noesen and Matt Puempel in that same first round to go alongside former college star Bobby Butler. The team’s blueline group can expect a boost from David Rundblad and Jared Cowen in the very near future. And with Craig Anderson and Alex Auld between the pipes this season, the team can afford to take its time with Swedish keeper Robin Lehner.” They see Nikita Filatov as a potential breakout player (like, it would seem, every other publication who looks at the team). They like the team’s toughness. They say Paul MacLean will need a Jack Adams-like performance to make Ottawa a contender in the East.
–The Hockey News‘ Darryl Dobbs looks at five fantasy players who need to perform this year (link). The five are Marc-Andre Gragnani (Buf), Joakim Lindstrom (Col), Ian White (Det), Wojtek Wolski (NYR), and Nikita Filatov. “In 2020 we could be saying “Filatov” the way we say “Kovalchuk” today. Or we could be saying “Filatov” and then wracking our brain trying to remember who that is (quick – Pavel Brendl, who drafted him?). He has new life on a new team and is doing very well on a scoring line there in camp. But what happens if he gets hurt again? At best – he goes through the season with only a minor injury or two, having some very hot streaks and a strong finish that is spurred on by Jason Spezza’s traditional second-half tear. This would mean 55 to 60 points in 75 games. At worst – Filatov strains or sprains (or breaks) something, comes back too soon in early December and re-injures it. He’s still not back on track by February and winds up leaving in the off-season for the KHL. This would mean 10 points in 25 games.”
-An NHL realignment note (for the 2012-13 season): Detroit owner Mike Illitch says what that the NHL promised him a move back to the East years ago (link), something I remember being reported at the time. It may not happen, but it’s worth remembering.
-The Binghamton Senators play their first pre-season game against Hamilton tonight (7:30). The Hamilton broadcast is the only place to hear it (link is the home page and then select the multimedia tab).
-The Elmira Jackals announced their training camp roster (link).