Senators News: July 17th

-The Sens have signed Nathan Lawson to serve as the backup in Binghamton.  He was in Hamilton last season.  Tim Murray said:

Well, he’s a depth guy for us right now, but we know he can certainly start at the American Hockey League level. He’s put up good numbers there in the past, so he’s at least that. He’s played games in the National Hockey League. We’ve had guys in the past here who have come up in a pinch — like Robin has in the past, like Mike Brodeur has in the past — so we feel that this kid could, with a couple injuries or if we were stuck, he could come up here and help us not to lose games. That’s what we’re looking for. But the main point right now is, he could, we think he’s a real good American League goalie and could certainly start at that level if need be.

-Murray indicated the Sens are essentially done signing players for Binghamton:

Yeah, it looks like we’re done. We’ve got lots of bodies. I hope we have a lot of quality. We certainly have a lot of quantity right now. I think to just cap it all off, a fifth goaltender that can start in the East Coast League, and again, add depth and come up in the American Hockey League and play well if need be, so that will get done shortly, I’m sure.

-Sens goaltending coach Rick Wamsley was on The Team 1200 this morning and talked about Robin Lehner:

Obviously winning the Calder Cup was a good experience, and you learn that you can play championship-type hockey and give championship-type goaltending. I think young kids have a problem with different types of hangovers, and I thought Robin went through a hangover last year. He didn’t come into camp in the best of shape, didn’t come in with the best of attitudes, and I thought his play was very reflective of that. Robin has, during the two years I’ve been with him, has had tremendous short-term success where you see glimpses of what this guy can do, what he can be with the way he’s played in short periods. What he needs to do is just continue to even out the ride a little bit. Right now, it’s just too much of a roller coaster, where the highs are really high and the lows are too low. If he can even out that ride, I think he has a real good chance of being what we think he can be, and that’s a quality No. 1 guy.

The comments reflect Lehner‘s performance and I wonder how much his attitude was due to the Sens having Alex Auld (of all people) beat him out as a back-up in the NHL.  By all accounts Lehner was in much better shape at this year’s development camp and I suspect the idea of being able to compete with Ben Bishop means he’ll carry that through to training camp.  The question for me is what will happen when he loses out to Bishop‘s one-way deal?

-Here’s my profile of Nathan Lawson.

-Rob Brodie has an article on NCAA free agent signee Cole Schneider.  Tim Murray said

We saw him night after night at UConn and he was the best player there. We just like his skill set and we think he brings an offensive dimension to our team down the road … We had our guys identify him early in the year and we followed up on him a couple of times in the last couple of months (of his season). We watched him play a lot and we just liked what we saw.

Schneider said:

My agent said that the staff around here was really good and thought this was the best fit for me. I’m more of an offensive player. But when I got there, I didn’t want to not play defence. So I kind of played a lot more defensively when I got up to Binghamton. It [the AHL] was a lot different, a lot faster, a lot stronger I guess. It’s not that I can’t handle it, but you’ve just got to get used to (the pace). They just said they wanted me to work on my skating and become a better skater.

He is one of many Sens prospects (like Mark Stone) who have been added to the organisation despite footspeed problems.

-Nichols joins the chorus of those who think (like me) that the idea that the Sens aren’t tough enough is ridiculous (or “horseshit”, as he says).

It’s not like any of these Northeast Division teams are without their flaws. The Habs were one of the worst teams in the league last season. The Buffalo Sabres are so weak down the middle that their first line center is… Steve Ott. And perhaps most importantly, Senators killer Tim Thomas has hung the Bruins out to dry. At the very least, blaming Ottawa for a perceived lack of toughness is a discredit to the assembled talent that projected to be on the NHL roster. With names like Neil, Greening, Smith, Cowen and Borowiecki filling out the ranks, it’s not like the roster is without a number of candidates who should be more than willing to chuck knuckles in the event that liberties are taken against one of the team’s more talented offensive players. Of course, having some tough role players means nothing unless the team’s best players are willing to pay the price, stick up for their teammates, engage the opposition or go to the high traffic areas. I suppose as the offseason buzz created by Andre Benoit’s signing continues to diminish with each day, there needs to be some kind of narrative to distract fans and maintain some level of hockey discussion in this city. Like a Mike Fisher wrister, whining about a lack of toughness however, misses the mark.

Everything here is spot on.  The argument that the Sens aren’t tough enough is absurd, but perhaps it just gives beat writers something to talk about.

-The boys at Welcome to Your Karlsson Years wrote a farewell for Nick Foligno, but what I enjoyed about it was the deconstruction of inept Columbus GM Scott Howson.  Read and enjoy:

It all starts at the top for Columbus, with General Manager Scott Howson. Here’s a pretty thorough summary – it ain’t pretty. There seem to be a few commonalities: total lack of prospect development; disjointed philosophies between coaching and drafting; allowing critical decisions to linger for far too long, like the firing of coach Scott Arniel; taking what spending leverage was afforded by ownership and blowing far too much of it on terrible free agent acquisitions like Mike Commodore, Kristian Huselius, and maybe Wisniewski (if it’s not too soon to judge there); he outs Rick Nash’s trade request, throwing him under the bus, and then doesn’t trade him for months; he goes on radio shows and makes his demands for Nash public. Not to mention that his demands for Nash – some NHL ready forwards – are also terribly stupid. Why make a lateral move? What’s lateral to last place? Most baffling of all is the firing of the entire scouting staff just days after the 2012 draft. In doing a little bit of reading about that move, I discovered that this same staff had been in place since 2001! That’s insane. A team that has drafted in the top ten every single year of its existence except one, and has only made the playoffs that one year, should probably have looked at swapping out some staff a little bit sooner. I’m not even close to being current on this, but it bears saying again: if you have no faith in these scouts, why allow them to run not only your draft, but one of the most important drafts in the franchise history, one in which you’re launching your rebuild?

1 Comment

  1. […] a chestnut Brennan has been writing for months (the team is not tough enough!), which remains an absurd theory; he dynamites his own argument about Carkner by noting that the ”Senators were too […]


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