-Bob Howard is providing coverage of the Binghamton Senators post-Joy Lindsay. He has a piece about the team where he wonders how motivated Robin Lehner will be this season (I have to wonder how insulted he felt to win a Calder Cup and then be ignored for the backup role in Ottawa in favour of the hapless Alex Auld). Howard has a positive view of the lockout version of the Binghamton blueline. A second article looks at the forwards. He assumes (dubiously in my opinion) that Corey Cowick and Wacey Hamilton are automatically in the mix for Binghamton. He doesn’t believe the team will be high scoring, but thinks contributions from Andre Petersson and Stephane Da Costa will be vital:
Both are skilled shooters, speedy and smart players but last season both players were inconsistent at best which limited their point totals and made people question their drive to play at this level.
Other than Da Costa‘s conditioning issues I haven’t heard anything internally from the organisation that reflects these sentiments, but as always time will tell. Binghamton will definitely need younger forwards to step up and produce offensively for the team to have success.
–Justin Goldman writes about Binghamton’s third goalie Marc Cheverie and he had a lot to say:
You can’t be delusional, and you need to know where you are on the depth chart. But you also have to realize there’s always an opportunity to move up or even move down, so you always have to perform. Anything can happen and I’ve seen it; the depth chart changes every day, so you have to perform every day. Even if you’re signed or under contract by an NHL club, if you’re not performing, they’ll get someone else. There are so many veteran guys without contracts right now that would love to step into an American league deal a week or two into training camp, so you’re always in a battle. This year is going to be even tougher for goalies than any other just because there are so many guys without contracts that are just waiting for an injury, or for a team to be struggling.
I mean there’s always been times in my career where it has been more frustrating than others. Sometimes you’re not getting the opportunity you wish you were getting. Last year was really tough when I moved up to Portland and then got sent down when they signed Peter [Mannino] there. So that was a really tough situation because I felt that I was playing well, but it was one of those things where they wanted experienced guys, and that’s the way I’ve sort of dealt with it when it comes to playing in the American league. For me it’s kind of hard to get that [AHL] experience because unless you get a chance to play there, it’s tough to be an experienced [AHL] guy. So that was one of the toughest pills to swallow; going up after Christmas and staying there, and then all of a sudden, on the last day you can possibly go down, you get sent down. But it was probably better for me in the long run because I got the opportunity to play in the ECHL playoffs for the first time, and going down and playing well turned out for the best.
You can’t force things and there’s so many things going on that you just have to take what’s given to you and do the best you can with it. Goaltending is such a different position in the way you manage things that you almost have to let things come to you. You never know when your number is going to be called, and that adversity definitely makes things a little bit easier to deal with, but obviously you hope that with each time it happens less and less, because you’ve already learned what can happen and how well you have to perform day in and day out to get that opportunity, so you don’t want it to slip through your fingers. Things change so much every day that you just never know what is going to happen.
I know that the Senators have seen me play, and some of their staff saw me play in college because I played with Patrick Wiercioch, who is currently in the system there. My agent informed me that they came to me for the deal, they did their research, and I was their guy. It’s always nice to be a known entity when you’re going in, and knowing what the expectations are. But you want to exceed them and hope to continue the relationship with the organization. Besides Robin Lehner and Nathan Lawson, they don’t have anyone else in the pro system right now, so it’s a really good situation to go into, and I’m really looking forward to making the most of it.
There’s one thing I worked on this summer, and it was my eyes. I was in Vail and I had the chance to work with Steve Valiquette for a few days. He talked about something called The Quiet Eye, which is something that helps you be more relaxed and be able to read shooters, and it includes little techniques about tracking the puck better. It’s kind of hard to explain without writing an essay about it, but those things I felt helped me make huge leaps and bounds with my game. I was better able to track the puck, which helped me all of a sudden be more relaxed in the net. I was making better decisions and things were coming more naturally, and it was just one of those things that snowballed for me all summer. That was the biggest thing for me, the puck-tracking aspect.
-Yesterday I examined McKeen’s 2012-13 projections.
–Robert Vollman looks at the worst free agent signings of the year via the collective opinion of 24 hockey stats experts (no idea how they were selected). No Sens made the list, although Matt Carkner received the honorable sixth worst signing. Previously Vollman went through the same exercise for the best signings, but again no Sens made the list (amusingly, “pancake” Dustin Penner was considered the best–both the experts and Penner will eat those words at the end of the season).
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)