-Luke Richardson talked about Robin Lehner‘s performance in Binghamton’s 2-1 win against Hershey:
We gave him [Lehner] the opportunity to return and he ran with it. I think he felt bad (about Saturday). You could hear him in the dressing room. He was very verbal before the game, telling everyone how important the game was. It was a big win. We were banged up.
He felt he let the team down, but the whole team let the team down. We win as a team and we lose as a team, but he wanted another crack at it and we gave him an opportunity, and he stood tall on Sunday. The guys played very hard defensively; especially on the penalty kill and in our (defensive) zone. They only gave them one crack at it. There were no rebound shots, really, but Robin was real solid and he made one or two really timely, big saves. And they’re hard to do. As a goaltender, if you stand around for a while and then you get a hard shot, and then you stand around for a while and you get a hard shot, that might be the toughest game to play rather than a 45-shot night. Robin was big and he talked big before the game. He was very vocal in the room. We could hear him down in the coach’s office. He said, ‘I really want to win this one guys.’ He was saying all the right things and taking on a leadership role, so that’s a big step for him. He’s been like that from day one this year. I talked a bit at the practice today about Saturday and he’s learned from it.
Richardson also talked about Ben Bishop:
He’s on some antibiotics [for strep throat]. Maybe with the move and getting into the hotel and maybe not eating the best, he’s run down a bit. Hopefully he can get a couple of practices in soon.
He also discussed the play of Mika Zibanejad and Jakob Silfverberg:
Zibanejad has probably been our most consistent and best forward up until Sunday. Sunday, he really showed that he was a bit tired but he’s been skating a lot. He kills penalties for us and (plays on the) power play. He’s been doing a great job defensively. A lot of Swedes are really good and take pride with good sticks and tracking hard and he’s been doing that as a young player, so I’m not going to complain because those players will find their touch. We’ll help them along for sure and try and get them in the best combinations possible offensively. But, they’ve been tracking it and Silfverberg has been the same – playing power play and penalty kill. I think the game really wore both of them out on Saturday. Zibanejad, we play him on the left wing when he’s a right wing; a lot of it is on his off side. He’s so strong, he can glide to the net and shoot through traffic – kind of like an Ovechkin. Silfverberg, same thing – he’s playing on his right wing but he’s a smart player. Sometimes he hangs onto the puck too long because he’s still figuring out smaller ice surface but Zibanejad, he has been probably our best skating forward – up and down and through the middle; especially playing at center, he was really good on Saturday night. Those guys, it’s concerning if you don’t see them play because you don’t see the point production but I think as the year moves along, you will see that become more consistent. I think they have been playing great. I think Silfverberg may be a bit frustrated with the time of the puck on his stick without pressure. He’s just used to having the puck on his stick more with the bigger ice surfaces. He’s a great kid who works hard and both of them have been really good for us, so I’m really happy. As long as we can get better as a team, and they can get better as individuals, I think the points will come as the year settles in.
In the first link Richardson also praised the play of Mike Hoffman. What to take away from all this? The comment about finding the best offensive combinations for the two Swedes is a reminder that neither Jean-Gabriel Pageau nor anyone else has been able to bring the noise offensively with them.
-For those looking for a Jakub Culek update, L’Avantage reports that Culek cannot play for Rimouski because the team is at their overage and European limit. The only options for Culek are a trade within the QMJHL or having him play in the ECHL.
–Grant Sonier has Mika Zibanejad 16th on his list of top-50 prospects, but the most meaningful point about his list comes from Nichols:
None of these rankings really mean anything beyond: a) creating a topic of discussion to dissect and critique; b) offering assurance that some other respected member of the hockey community recognizes the abundance of talent that has been stockpiled at the AHL and junior levels; and c) offering a humbling reminder that not everyone is as enamoured with the Senators pipeline as you would to believe.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: assessments that don’t come from the scouting community are educated guesses at best and simply sources for discussion. I’m not even sure how useful the various top lists are–it’s more important to know if a prospect is NHL-caliber and at what level than if they are slightly better or worse than another prospect.
-I have to think Nichols is kidding when he describes Darren Millard, Nick Kypreos and Doug MacLean as three of the most brilliant minds in hockey. MacLean believes Melnyk is in financial difficulty because he might be selling a team (apparently in his mind you only sell if you are losing money–following that logic the Maple Leafs are losing money because they are for sale). So are the Senators in financial difficulty? I have no idea and it’s hard to take it seriously when Doug MacLean is the source of the rumour (Melnyk has already denied it).
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)