Senators News: October 31st

-The Ottawa Sun‘s Bruce Garrioch looks at last night’s game (link), which includes Kaspars Daugavins reaction to his first NHL goal, “It feels good. It feels great to score that goal. I was just lucky to score and help the team win a game. I was just trying to get to the net. I saw it go in, but I didn’t really look at the way it went in.”  Robin Lehner also credits his team with the win, “Sometimes the small things pay off. I gotta give the team a lot of credit because I didn’t have much to do. I didn’t expect to play. It’s just nice that this team trusts me and they want to keep on giving me some chances.”

-Garrioch also writes his surprise about the lack of suspension for Wojtek Wolski‘s hit on Daniel Alfredsson (link).  I don’t share Garrioch’s shock although I disagree with the decision.  From the one replay I’ve seen it looked like a clear head shot.

-Allen Panzeri writes for Senators Extra (link), where he quotes Paul MacLean talking about whether he expected the team to win six in a row, “Well, realistically speaking, no. But the fact that it has happened is outstanding. Our team has showed a lot of resiliency and character in the 12 games we’ve played. We’ve handled adversity, we’ve faced adversity, we’ve caused our own adversity. We’ve kind of been up and down the hill, but it’s a learning process, and we know that, at one time, it’s going to come to an end and we’re going to have to get back on the horse and do it again.”

-Wayne Scanlan (also writing for Senators Extra, link) includes some words from Paul MacLean looking forward, “Let’s see where we are after 20 games, after 25 games. We’ve played well for five in a row, but it’s a long season.”  Jason Spezza talks about the team coming back in games, “There’s no real answer. I think it’s just that we have a never-say-die approach right right now. We got embarrassed a couple of times early in the year, we got guilty of maybe letting up a bit in the Philly game, they embarrassed us. I think maybe that message went through pretty clear, that we’re never out of games. Once you get a few wins, you start believing in it more and more. Last year we had the problem, every time we got scored on first we felt like we couldn’t win. Now, we feel like when we’re behind we can win. It’s a bit of a belief thing, a confidence thing.”

-Joy Lindsay has her post-game quotes up from Binghamton’s 3-2 loss to Hershey (link).  Here are Kurt Kleinendorst’s thoughts on the game, “Well, I think we just got ourselves in trouble tonight by taking penalties, really. I mean, five-on-five, we were fine, but they scored two of their three on the power play and had us on the ropes, for the most part, every time we were killing penalties. We just have to be a little bit more honest, especially against this team. Their top power-play group is pretty effective, and you give them opportunities, they’re going to find a way to get the puck in the back of the net at some point.” And “we have extra guys sitting around, we’re playing three-in-three. And I know we’ve been playing awfully well, but for me, we need to see what we have in Heshka. We need to find out what we’ve got there. And you know, I’m not thrilled about taking Schirsy (Craig Schira) out, but he’s such a little warrior that he competes night in and night out, and in hindsight, we probably could have used him,  his battle level. But again, we’re still learning our team. We’re learning our players. And you want to give them every opportunity to be in the lineup every single night. And then we’ll make evaluations. Tonight, there were some red flags where we’ve got guys playing three games in three where, you know what, it’s not easy to do. So maybe we’ll have to play some certain guys two games out of the three. And we’re just, like I said, we’re still working our way through it.”

Ottawa 3, Toronto 2; Binghamton 2, Hershey 3

Tonight Ottawa beat a listless Toronto team 3-2, dominating the first two periods before falling asleep in the third. Robin Lehner had a light night in goal, but did made a key save late in the game.  Against expectations Nikita Filatov played (his third game in three nights), but neither he nor Bobby Butler saw much ice time (5:16 and 8:52 respectively).  For the box score go here link.  Here’s a look at the goals:
1. Toronto, MacArthur (pp)
Foligno awkwardly goes down to block a shot and MacArthur fires it home in the slot
2. Greening (Rundblad, Kuba) (pp)
A fantastic pass from Rundblad in his own zone springs Greening on the breakaway who makes no mistake
3. Neil (Karlsson, Gonchar) (pp)
Fired from the point for a tip
4. Daugavins (Smith)
A nothing shot from the top of the circle finds its way in
5. Toronto, MacArthur
Phillips is way out of position leaving MacArthur with a wide open chance

The game’s best players;
Colin Greening – a great goal and continued strong play in all zones
Sergei Gonchar – continued to provide offence and played well in his own zone
Chris Neil – a terrific tip on the second goal and a great presence on the wall and in front of the net

Players who struggled:
Nick Foligno – too many mental errors tonight
Stephane Da Costa – pulled a disappearing act tonight

Others: David Rundblad did some good things tonight, but he turned the puck over more than anyone else on the team.  Nikita Filatov didn’t have a great night, but with the 3-in-3 and playing so little I’m not going to bury him for that.

Binghamton lost in Hershey tonight.  I did not see the game so I’m reliant on reports about it (for the box score go here link and for Joy Lindsay’s game summary go here link).  Mike McKenna took the loss while Wacey Hamilton scored his first goal of the year and Andre Petersson his second.  Mark Borowiecki stands out as a +2.

Senators News: October 30th; Binghamton 3, Rochester 1

-Newly recalled Robin Lehner will get the start against the Leafs tonight, but is looks like Nikita Filatov (who was recalled last night) will sit while Bobby Butler will play (or so speculates Sportsnet‘s Ian Mendes, link)

-The Ottawa Sun‘s Bruce Garrioch writes about the game against the Rangers (link).  He quotes Milan Michalek talked about the importance of staying positive, “We’ve got great strength on this team and we’re trying to keep positive.  Even if we’re losing, everybody is positive. If we can score one, we know we can get back in it. We know that we’ve done it before. That helps confidence.”  Wojtek Wolski, who hit Daniel Alfredsson in the head, says he thought it was a legal hit.  Paul MacLean said, “It was the right call. Now, it’s up to Brendan (Shanahan) to (decide if there’s further action).”

-The Ottawa Sun‘s Jason York talks about the importance of Paul MacLean remaining positive and says that element is a big part of Nashville’s Barry Trotz’s success (link).

-Binghamton continued their winning ways with a 3-1 victory over Rochester.  Jim O’Brien scored his first goal while Pat Cannone and Mike Hoffman scored the others while Mike McKenna got the win.  For the box score go here link, for Joy Lindsay’s game summary go here link.

-Joy Lindsay’s post game quotes are here (link), with Kurt Kleinendorst summarising the game with, “Well, I think for us, it was just, I thought we were a determined group, which is really what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to establish our work ethic. We’re trying to make sure that we’re an honest and hard-working team, and that plays for 60 minutes. And I think, for the most part, we did that. And I think what you can also see is, you know, week by week by week, we’re starting to get some structure to our game, which over time comes. So then those two come together, and then you have an honest, hard-working team that plays with structure, and that’s a pretty good combination.

-Corey Locke is going to miss a month with a hand injury

-The Elmira Jackals lost to South Carolina again (5-3).  Max Gratchev scored a goal, while Louie Caporusso was held pointless.

Ottawa 5, New York Rangers 4 (SO)

The Senators enjoyed yet another third period come back (overcoming a three goal deficit) to get two points out of New York.  The game was marred by two incidents: the first was Zenon Konopka‘s boarding call on Artem Anisimov.  I thought Konopka caught Anisimov on the right hip, not the back, but the CBC’s replay was so terrible you couldn’t really tell.  The penalty call changed the momentum and helped the Rangers earn a point.  The more gruesome play was Wojtek Wolski elbowing Daniel Alfredsson in the head.  The replay showed a deliberate blow to the head long after Alfredsson had passed the puck.  Whether it will warrant a suspension or not is anybody’s guess.  For the box score go here link.  Here’s a look at the goals:
1. Neil (Kuba, Karlsson)
I don’t think Neil actually tipped this in, but a simple shot from the point finds its way to the back of the net
2. Rangers, Callahan (pp)
Picks up a rebound and fires it home; it was Cowen‘s side of the rink, but I don’t blame him for the goal
3. Rangers, Richards (pp)
Karlsson turns it over and Anderson flubs the save
4. Rangers, Gaborik
Cowen turns it over and no one takes the man in front as the Rangers make a quick pass for the one-timer
5. Rangers, Richards
Kuba turns it over and the Rangers again score quickly on a one-timer
6. Spezza (Kuba, Michalek)
A great tip on the point shot by Kuba
7. Spezza (Gonchar, Karlsson) (pp)
A terrific shot through a Greening screen
8. Michalek (Greening, Kuba)
The Rangers gave Michalek three shots on the play in close
Shootout
9. Michalek scored the only goal

Players who excelled:
Milan Michalek – played another strong game with both the tying and winning goals
Filip Kuba – despite the turnover leading to a goal he had three assists and was the key cog in the team’s offence

Playes who struggled: I don’t think any particular player was bad, although both Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson were guilty of a lot of turnovers.

A final note, David Rundblad was rewarded with a ton of ice time tonight as compared to Jared Cowen (20:45 versus 13:38).

Senators News: October 30th; Binghamton 4, Albany 2

-Alex Auld has suffered an undisclosed injury so Robin Lehner has been called up to replace him

-The Ottawa Sun‘s Bruce Garrioch talks about the Sens interest in Kyle Turris (link), but other than confirming Ottawa’s interest he just summarizes the information already available

-In another article (link) Garrioch confirms there won’t be any lineup changes for today’s game against the Rangers

-The Ottawa Citizen‘s Allen Panzeri looks at Nick Foligno‘s start to the year (link), noting it’s an improvement on last year’s abysmal beginning.  Of his own expectations Foligno said, “Everyone wants to contribute. I’d love to have a point-a-game  average. Who wouldn’t? You expect some things of yourself, but the most important thing is that  you’re playing the game the right way and doing what the coaches are asking, and  I think I’ve been able to do that. I’ve got some great linemates, too (Stéphane Da Costa and Daniel Alfredsson), and when you play with those guys, you want to produce some points.  That’s what our role on the team is. That’s something I want to do on this team,  contribute some points. It’s nice to get a couple, but I just have to keep  playing well, and I feel I have done that.”  Paul MacLean said Foligno has to establish what kind of player he is.  Panzeri doesn’t fully quote the coach, but MacLean implied that Foligno is at his best when he’s a north-south player who drives to the net–a criticism of him often overhandling the puck.

-Panzeri’s other article (link) includes Paul MacLean’s expectations for the team, “I see this team improving just a little bit every day, just like we talked  about at training camp. We’re building a foundation for  something down the road when we’re going to be good, and that takes doing a  little bit better every day. We’ve seen this team get better. We’ve seen it be bad and improve, and show great character and learn what it takes to win and how to win, and those are all  very good building blocks to build that foundation we’re talking about. So I think with every one of those blocks we put in, it gets a little more  stable. I don’t think it’s the Great Wall of China yet, but it’s all positive signs.”

-The Binghamton Senators defeated the Albany Devils for their first win at home this season.  I didn’t see the game so I’m reliant on reports (for the box score go here link, for Joy Lindsay’s game blog go here link).  Robin Lehner made 42 saves for the win, also joining a melee that broke out after Tim Sestito elbowed Nikita Filatov in the head.  Offensively Mike Hoffman lead the way with a goal and assist; Corey Cowick and Pat Cannone scored their first goals and Filatov himself scored (Jack Downing also picked up his first AHL point).  In the post-game interview Filatov said he didn’t think he was concussed, but suffered headaches immediately following the hit (he played the rest of the game anyway).  For those with good memories Sestito ran Mark Borowiecki from behind on October 16th, but escaped suspension.

-Joy Lindsay’s says in her post-game report (link) that Corey Locke was injured in the game against Albany.  Kurt Kleinendorst was happy with his team’s effort, “Yeah, I did, you know. And I thought that there were moments in the game where, you know, we were faced with a little bit of adversity, and I thought we pushed through it just fine, you know. So, I mean, we showed up this morning to skate, and we couldn’t skate because the ice plant was down. So we talked a little bit about it, even though that’s not much adversity; it’s adversity in a form. Some guys like to skate in the morning, and they couldn’t, so I thought it was the perfect morning to really get on that word. And then tonight, again, any time it kind of popped up, we dealt with it.”  I recommend looking through all of Kleinendorst’s comments–it’s a very thorough look at the whole team and how they played.

-Joy Lindsay reports that Binghamton has called up goaltender Brian Stewart and a forward (Joy says Mike Radjawore in the link following but clarifies it’s Mike Radja via Twitter) from Elmira (link)

-The Elmira Jackals lost 5-2 to South Carolina.  Louie Caporusso had a goal and assist while Max Gratchev picked up a helper (Brian Stewart was the backup).

The Ottawa Senators at the Ten Game Mark

After 10 games Ottawa sits at 5-5-0, their ten points good enough for 3rd in the division, 9th in the conference, and 19th in the overall standings.  They are 5th in goals for, 30th in goals against, 2nd in powerplay percentage and 29th on the penalty kill.  They have the lowest 5-on-5 goals for/against ratio (0.60), are 16th in the league in faceoffs, 21st in shots allowed and 14th in shots-for.  A quick snapshot of player’s stats (INJ=games missed due to injury, SCR=scratched):
Jason Spezza 10-5-8-13 -3 TOI 19:39 FO% 55.3
Milan Michalek 10-6-5-11 -3 TOI 19:53
Erik Karlsson 10-1-9-10 -6 TOI 24:41
Sergei Gonchar 9-0-7-7 -1 TOI 19:31 INJ 1
Daniel Alfredsson 9-4-3-7 -3 TOI 18:31 INJ 1
Colin Greening 10-3-3-6 -6 TOI 16:39
Zack Smith 10-1-3-4 +1 TOI 13:21 FO% 52.3
Chris Neil 10-1-2-3 -1 TOI 13:44
Peter Regin 5-1-2-3 +3 TOI 12:51 FO% 49.2 INJ 5
Nick Foligno 10-2-1-3 -2 TOI 16:05
Filip Kuba 10-2-0-2 -2 TOI 22:02
Chris Phillips 10-0-2-2 Even TOI 20:24
Zenon Konopka 7-1-1-2 Even TOI 7:23 FO% 55.4 SCR 2, INJ 1
Erik Condra 9-0-2-2 Even TOI 12:49 SCR 1
David Rundblad 8-0-2-2 -1 TOI 16:51 SCR 2
Stephane Da Costa 10-2-0-2 -4 TOI 11:35 FO% 41.0
Jesse Winchester 4-0-1-1 +1 TOI 7:17 INJ 6
Nikita Filatov 2-0-1-1 +1 TOI 13:32 (sent to Binghamton)
Mika Zibanejad 9-0-1-1 -3 TOI 12:54 FO% 44.0 (sent to Djurgarden)
Jared Cowen 10-0-0-0 -1 TOI 16:42
Brian Lee 4-0-0-0 -3 TOI 18:19 SCR 6
Bobby Butler 2-0-0-0 -1 TOI 9:47 SCR 2 INJ 6
Kaspars Daugavins 2-0-0-0 -2 TOI 14:58 (called up from Binghamton)
Craig Anderson 9-5-2 3.65 .883 (pulled once)
Alex Auld 3-0-3 4.90 .830 (pulled once)

A few things stand out: the team is 0-4 with Brian Lee in the lineup; Peter Regin leads the team in plus/minus (despite the team being 2-3 with him in the lineup); Alex Auld has been awful while Craig Anderson has been subpar.  Looking back at my game-by-game assessments the player who has stood out the most is Milan Michalek (a top player in five of the games), with Colin Greening next (four times).  On the negative side of the ledger is Stephane Da Costa (four bad games) followed by the departed Mika Zibanejad (with three).

I don’t think we’ll have a real sense of team trends until the 20-game mark, but this serves as a point in time that can be referred too later in the season.

Senators News: October 28th

-The Ottawa Sun‘s Bruce Garrioch writes about the game (link), with Nick Foligno summarizing the final play, “(David) Rundblad makes an outstanding play, he keeps it in and then makes a beautiful pass to Alfie, and Alfie makes a nice shot on net for a rebound, and I was there to put the puck in the net. We definitely have a knack for winning in dramatic fashion this year. It was pretty nice to get that one.”  Jason Spezza adds, “We’ve got to close those games out, that’s not how we want to end them, but we showed great character and it feels good to get that win.”

The Ottawa Sun‘s Don Brennan’s Cheapseats article (link) includes David Rundblad talking about his buddy Mika Zibanejad leaving, “We shared a (hotel) room for 1½ months [mostly spent on PlayStation]. Yeah, I will (miss him) a little bit. But all the guys on the team are really nice, so I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.”  Brennan suggests Rundblad won’t be going to Binghamton, but Paul MacLean wouldn’t say it definitively, “David has worked on his defensive game and he’s been a real good player for us.  If he continues to improve and play the way he’s playing, there’s really no reason to make any change to his status.”

-I haven’t referenced Rundblad‘s blog for awhile because I had a dead link, but it does continue (link).  His October 26th entry includes hopes that he gets some powerplay time (commenting that it’s a matter of Gonchar and Karlsson never come off the ice).  He answers a series of questions (October 17th), which includes him saying that his adjustment to North America has been helped by all the Swedes; he also mentions how hard it is to eat properly living in a hotel; he says the difference between Skelleftea coach Anders Forsberg and Paul MacLean is that the former emphasizes offensive creativity while the latter focuses on defensive responsibility (he believes the reason behind that is the kind of team each coaches); he says his goal is to play in as many games as possible; he says the main difference on the smaller surface is moving his feet more and moving the puck quicker (he adds in another answer that he’s been told to play more aggressively one-on-one); he mentions hanging out with Stephane Da Costa and Jared Cowen because they are also living in hotels.  Rundblad has a lot of patience–he got asked some odd questions.

-Joy Lindsay posted a ton of comments from Kurt Kleinendorst (link).  It’s worth reading them all through, but the highlight: “Well, I think you take a look, our personalities, our individual personalities, are kind of quiet. I guess if I could say … how would you characterize your time? I would characterize this group as, for the most part, being quiet. And if you transfer that over to hockey, quiet isn’t necessarily good. So what we’re doing in practice is, we’re trying to take quiet players and make them loud. That’s probably the best analogy I can make for you. I mean, we’re trying to teach guys how hard they have to work every day to be good at pro hockey. And right now, some of them, it’s just not their nature. So we’re basically trying to break them and get them to understand that this is the way you need to play if you’re going to be a good pro player. You’ve got to shoot, you’ve got to be hard on pucks, you’ve got to be in the battle, you’ve got to be engaged — you can’t be soft to play against. Soft in hockey doesn’t work anymore. And that’s kind of, that’s the best way for me to put it right now. I don’t like that word soft because people translate that to kind of, being pansies. That’s not what I’m talking about. I don’t know that, I just think that we’re a little bit quiet, is probably the best word to use. And we need to be loud. And we were loud on Saturday. And we were quiet on Friday.”

-Joy Lindsay also posted player quotes (link), including thoughts from obviously Josh Godfrey: “Ah, you know, I’m learning a lot. A little bit different system than I’m used to with the Capitals, obviously, but I think things are really coming into place.” And “Obviously, I had an assist in the game, but I was overall happy with how I played, and I think Coach was pretty happy, so hopefully I can keep it going this weekend.”  And “Obviously, I went down there to Elmira for two weeks to get some games in, and that worked out for the best. I got to play a ton when I went down there. But obviously, I would have liked to play exhibition games here and got the games out of the way and begun the season here. But I’m happy the way it worked out. I’m here now, and hopefully I’m here to stay.”

-Binghamton and Elmira are in action tonight; no morning skate for Binghamton because of a problem with the arena’s compressors (as per Joy Lindsay).

-A bit off topic, but Sports Illustrated‘s Stu Hackel looks if the New York Islanders will move to Quebec (link).  He writes “Some will hear Bettman’s words [mentioning staying in Nassau or moving to two other locations in New York] and detect that he’s at a loss to see where this is going, but he can be an extremely influential figure in matters of franchise locations and new arenas.”  Bettman says he doesn’t believe the Islanders will leave New York, but given the agreement that locks Wang into staying there for another three years it’s an easy question to deflect right now.

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