Senators News & Notes


Trevor Shackles asks the obvious question of whether or not Bryan Murray should remain GM of the Sens.  I think he’s far kinder to Murray than I would be at this stage, with it becoming clear Murray is unable to identify talent–either externally or internally.  I think Trevor and I are essentially on the same page, but just to make my point, here are some decisions by Murray over his tenure:
-signed Luke Richardson as a FA (yes kids, as a player)
-signed Randy Robitaille to provide scoring depth (he was back in Europe the following season)
-hired John Paddock (fired that year and has regressed to a WHL coach)
-traded a 6th (Ben Smith) for Martin Lapointe (he retired when the season ended)
-signed Jesse Winchester (advertised as an offensive talent–here are his numbers as a Senator: 233 games, 11 goals, 41 assists)
-re-signed Shean Donovan
-signed Jason Smith (he retired mid-contract)
re-signed Luke Richardson who retired after two games
-hired Craig Hartsburg (fired during the season with no subsequent head coaching jobs above the WHL)
-traded Dean McAmmond and a 1st round pick (Kyle Palmieri) for Mike Comrie and Chris Campoli–the former was awful and the latter was booed out of town two seasons later)
-traded for Pascal Leclaire
-signed Alexei Kovalev as a FA
-signed Matt Carkner to a two-year, one-way deal
-signed Bobby Butler as a scorer
-traded a 2nd round pick (Kent Simpson) for Andy Sutton
-give up the chance to draft Vladimir Tarasenko to acquire David Rundblad
-re-signed Jesse Winchester
-re-signed Bobby Butler
-traded a 3rd round pick (T. J. Tynan) for Nikita Filatov
-brought back Alex Auld
-signed Mike Lundin
-gave Jim O’Brien a one-way deal (two years!)
-traded a 6th round pick (Pontus Sjalin) for Matt Kassian (!)
-traded Ben Bishop for Cory Conacher and the pick that became Tobias Lindberg
-brought back Joe Corvo (!)
-signed David Legwand (for two years)
-etc, etc, etc

He also waived Mike Hoffman through the league, was going to trade Patrick Wiercioch for a 3rd round pick, and on and on (Francis Lessard played NHL games under his watch).  It’s clear that if it weren’t for the scouts and Tim Murray in particular the team would be starving for talent and loaded up with broken down, ineffective veterans.  Obviously there have been successes, but the above (going back to an era without an internal budget) illustrates an inability to properly assess talent.


The Sens prospect update is a little funny in that Tim Boyle is included despite the organisation cutting ties with him over the summer (amusingly, he couldn’t maintain a roster spot in the ECHL and is plugging away in the SPHL).  The main takeaways from the report: all the prospects in the QMJHL are doing well (Tomas ChabotFrancis PerronFilip Chlapik), the non-goaltending Swedes are not (Filip AhlChristian JarosAndreas Englund), and the collegiate players are a mixed bag (Colin White and Christian Wolanin are the standouts).  Marcus Hogberg has a poor save percentage (.896), but is winning a lot (7-2-1).  The org must be high on Englund–no points, but leading the team in hits….


Evansville lost the re-match to Wheeling 4-2 on Sunday; former AHLer Matt Hussey was either scratched or injured (I couldn’t determine which, but the former wouldn’t surprise me as one assist in eight games and a minus eight is no return on the investment).  A look at the goals (Bengtsberg had to leave the game early in the second due to injury; Asmundsen came in and earned the loss):
1. Moon takes a dumb penalty and on the PP Torquato bangs in a rebound
2. Just a minute after Asmundsen got into the net he’s beaten on a nice three-way passing play as Rutkowski lost his check leaving Krause wide open
3. Dunn scores from the dot as he was left wide open
4. Just 21-seconds later Strandberg floats a puck from just inside the blueline through a crowd in front
5. Asmundsen is beaten on a wrister through a screen five-hole
6. Lazy backcheck by Moon leaves Burton wide open who makes a nice pass for Brace‘s second goal of the game

A pretty consistent theme for Evansville where their veterans are guilty of selfish play–most of those players are the fault of the Evansville braintrust, but Leveille is the Sens fault.  Other book keeping: veteran Lukin has been out due to injury, as has rookie Zay (the former in practice the latter in game play).  Scott Greenham‘s injury is described as day-to-day, but we’re at the two week mark at this point (the BSens have recalled him, but there’s been no indication if he can play yet or not).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News & Notes

Ross A offers a recap of Ottawa’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Rangers, a game without Jared Cowen but featuring Zack Smith going full Binghamton Senator by taking a bunch of pointless, selfish penalties.  I enjoyed what I saw of the game and it will be interesting to see what Cameron does with the lineup going forward (I like Lazar on the fourth line).


Binghamton blew yet another two-goal lead in the third as they lost 4-3 in regulation to Springfield.  Shift lengths for some of the vets are getting absurd–over a minute at times for the third line (Stortini-Dziurzynski-Greening), which wouldn’t fly with most coaches.  My summary:
1. McCormick is alone in front and cleans up the rebound
2. Stortini is too slow to be timely on the backcheck and then all the Sens lose track of the puck and Mullen gets walked around and Driedger beat with a soft backhand
-Stortini line gives up another 2-on-1 their next shift but Driedger makes a great save
-Carlisle loses the puck at the blueline but Driedger stops the breakaway (Carlisle did help deflect away the rebound)
-Kostka makes the exact same turnover but is able to keep up enough with Lessio enough to knock the puck off his stick
3. Kostka took a dumb tripping penalty, but McCormick and Dziurzynski broke out on a 2-on-0 and the former scored while the latter crashed into the boards and had to leave the game for awhile
-Fantastic point-blank stop on the PK by Driedger
-An example of why Fraser drives me nuts: with no pressure he bangs the puck off the boards to the wrong team
-McCormick with a great chance for the hat-trick off a nice pass from Greening
-McCormick had another A-grade chance on the PP but couldn’t quite hit the hot pass from O’Dell
-Dumb penalty by Dziurzynski as after a couple of big slashes he gets called for a hook; penalty killed, but Kostka proceeds to take a lazy hold right after it–fortunately Springfield took a penalty immediately afterwards
4. Schneider puts in Greening‘s rebound
5. Fraser took a somewhat acceptable tripping call (in this case via a scoring chance) and Springfield scores immediately as a spinorama confused Driedger who thought it was going to be a pass
6. McCormick took a penalty while the goal was being scored which kept Springfield on the PP and they scored off a great cross-ice pass for a one-timer
-O’Dell drew a hooking call, but four BSens could not take the puck off of one Springfield forward while on the PP eventually taking a penalty
7. On a broken play on the PK Driedger is beat by a shot between two Binghamton defenders
-Driedger made a great windmill stop with his stick off a rebound

Despite letting in one iffy goal, Driedger was excellent.  The first line wasn’t its usual dominant self (Dzingel was the best of the three of them), but while McCormick played a good game his line didn’t dominate either.  I thought Robinson was wasted on the fourth line and would have liked him swapped with Stortini.  Binghamton’s special teams continue to be absolutely atrocious and it’s well past time to put the PK struggles on the shoulders of the coach–it’s not getting any better and there’s no shortage of “defensive specialists” on the team’s blueline.  Jeff seems to want to put the blame for defensive miscues on Mullen (wanting him benched, which is incredible), but while he wears the goat horns for the first goal against, he’s hardly responsible for the loss.  Why Jeff continues to shill for Mark Fraser is beyond me (he’s avoided mentioning most of Fraser‘s mistakes this season), but it does echo the organisation’s opinion.


The IceMen beat Wheeling 2-1 in OT last night, with Bengtsberg getting his sixth straight start.  The goals:

1. Wideman finishes off a nice passing play on a 3-on-2
2. A point shot is deflected in
3. Shorthanded towards the end of OT, Leveille splits the defense and goes 5-hole to end it

I haven’t been impressed with Alex Guptill‘s first two games in the ECHL, although he’s talented enough to keep playing.  Leveille, despite the goal, continues to play selfishly.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News & Notes

I’d like to congratulate myself on predicting Patrick Wiercioch would be scratched prior to either Jared Cowen or Mark Borowiecki, but he was back for the game against the Rangers today and Dave Cameron finally acknowledged the obvious by scratching the useless Cowen.  The Sens comical 7-5 loss versus Nashville is neatly described by Michaela Schreiter, while the 3-2 win over Vancouver is covered by Ross A.

Nichols explores the idea of trading for Matt Duchene as rumours abound; I saw some pretty humorous Tweets about this potentiality, but here’s Nichols conclusion about the idea:

Adding a speedy playmaking center like Duchene could help transition the offence by improving their ability to carry the puck with speed through the neutral zone and boasting Turris/Zibanejad/Duchene down the middle certainly would certainly be impressive. On the other hand, whatever success Ottawa can have this year will be predicated on their ability to fix their shittacular blue line. Obviously a Duchene trade and improving the blue line does not have to be mutually exclusive, but without knowing what the opportunity cost would be to acquire him and without having some side deals in place to improve the blue line, adding Duchene alone is not going to be enough to turn this team’s fortunes around.

I agree fully with that final thought.

The aforementioned Michaela‘s five thoughts includes one on Dave Cameron:

if we looked at where this team is now (under Cameron) and where they were at this time last year (under Paul MacLean), there is not much of a difference. As of November 13, 2014 the Sens had a record of 8-4-4. Right now, the Sens’ record is 8-5-3. Both teams suffered from a lack of identity and allowed a very high number of shots against per game. This may be an indication that the problems on this team are not necessarily due to coaching. Maybe there needs to be a change in the roster before we have another coaching change. My fear is that firing Cameron will become a knee-jerk reaction if the team’s struggles worsen. Fortunately, I suspect we’ll see a trade before it comes to that. I think Dave Cameron is the right coach for this team, and I would like to see what he can do with the right roster in front of him. Management needs to look at the changes to be made on the team, before they look elsewhere.

I don’t quite follow her logic here–what is it about Cameron that makes her think he’s the right man for the job?  Besides that conclusion I agree with everything above.


The BSens did some more house keeping as the disappointing Alex Guptill was sent down to Evansville.  Was he the least useful forward on the roster?  I think it’s debatable, but he’s useless enough that it doesn’t really matter (although he may help the IceMen).

Binghamton faced Leigh Valley on Wednesday, breaking their goalie rotation by starting Chris Driedger consecutively and keeping the exact same lineup that won their previous game.  As I said in recapping that game Binghamton was badly outplayed and lucky to win and that assessment rang true in the result here (a 6-3 loss).  A look at the goals:
1. Schneider tips in Claesson‘s point shot
2. Greening gets the wrap around as Stolarz over commits to a shot
3. No one has Brent in front who scores from the slot (the O’Dell line was on–no one rotated to the middle when the aforementioned went to chase the puck)
4. Mark Fraser takes an idiotic boarding penalty (it was called a crosscheck) and off a broken play Driedger is beaten cleanly from the top of the circle
5. Kostka makes an ill-advised aggressive play at his own blueline leading to a 3-on-1
6. No one covers the front of the net (Dziurzynski-line was on with Harpur/Claesson) and a wide open Cousins makes no mistake
7. McCormick beats Stolarz from the top of the circle through a screen via his own defensemen
8. Mullen loses a puck battle and O’Dell doesn’t have his check in front who beats Driedger with 2-seconds left of the second
9. O’Dell turns it over in the offensive zone and Leigh Valley scores on the empty net

Jeff Ulmer‘s recap is oddly picky over who is and isn’t singled out and I completely disagree with him on Tobias Lindberg‘s defensive acumen (which is quite good).  I’ve read Jeff for a long time and while I love his work, he has a soft spot for tough guys and little patience with skilled players–I’m quite the opposite, but the facts don’t change regardless of personal preference and if you read through defensive mistakes on Binghamton’s goals this year you’re going to see goat horns on the former far more often than not.  It’s been nice to see all the games this year so I’m less dependent on others view of who is or isn’t playing well.

On Friday Richardson put together the best possible lineup given the players available, with Harpur and Tuzzolino scratched and Buddy Robinson back in (the only other tweak I’d make is calling up Troy Rutkowski and sitting Fraser–for reasons I go into below); Matt O’Connor got the start.  The goals:
1. Fantastic pass from Robinson gives Hobbs an empty net and he doesn’t miss
2. Robinson can’t keep up with Peca who skates his way into the slot where he beats O’Connor through a crowd
3. Great little flip pass by Dzingel to Lindberg who outraces the defense and dekes the goaltender
4. McCormick fights Mormina after a dangerous hit on Nick Paul (looked like a hit to the head) and on the ensuing PK Robinson cashes in on a 2-on-1 with Claesson
5. Paul breaks his opponent’s stick (looked accidental) and on the ensuing PP and Vermin simply beats O’Connor with a shot
6. Fraser inexplicably tackles Vermin (who didn’t have the puck) and on the PP McGinn cashes in on a rebound
7. In OT Tambellini is left wide open in front by Mullen (who was caught watching the puck) and ends the game

One of the major themes of this season is Mark Fraser taking awful penalties (passim), but Richardson has chosen to do absolutely nothing about it–the guy isn’t going to learn until he sits if he doesn’t keep himself in check.  As for the game itself, O’Connor had his best start of the season, although there’s an odour to the Vermin goal.


Bengtsberg continues to play as Scott Greenham recovers from injury; Guptill knocked Sims out of the lineup and the horrific blueline duo of HimelsonHumphries was finally broken up (both still in the lineup, but with different partners).  The goals:
1. A lazy Guptill loses the puck, ignores his check, and watches as his check scores from the slot
Guptill took an elbow to the head from Cederholm in the 2nd, but he continued playing
2. Coming out of the box after the powerplay Sorensen beats Bengtsberg with a wrap around after an initial breakaway save
3. Fawcett cashes in on the centering play created by Dunn (who inexplicably didn’t get an assist)
4. On the PP Rumble scores with a knuckleball in off a rebound
5. Himelson turns it over and on the ensuing possession Fox is left all alone in front and makes no mistake
6. Leveille turns it over leading to an empty net goal

The problem for Evansville remains the same: a weak blueline and a lack of offensive talent.  Guptill should help, but with Noreau awful (and currently in the AHL) and Dieude-Fauvel hurt, there’s no help coming for the defensecorps.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News & Notes

It has been a busy week for me that’s interfered with my usual hockey watching, but that said, there lot’s to talk about, so we’ll start with some articles of note (not forgetting that the Sens lost 3-2 to Carolina on Saturday, beat Winnipeg 3-2 on Thursday, and beat Montreal 2-1 on Wednesday since I last posted).

Callum Fraser looks into just how good (or bad) Dave Cameron has been as a coach this year and he sums it up perfectly:

one month in, Cameron hasn’t exactly impressed.

He hasn’t.  As Nichols (and others) surmised at the end of last season, so many of the roster and line changes fans were hoping for truly do seem accidental–the results of fortuitous injuries and suspensions.  Despite enormous evidence to the contrary Cameron continues to dress both Jared Cowen and Mark Borowiecki; he plays Curtis Lazar on scoring lines; he ineffectively uses callups (with the exception of Max McCormick); was clueless about Chris Wideman (it remains uncertain if his goal against Carolina will change that).  Despite his flaws Ottawa has a decent record, although fans need to keep in mind that more often than not they are regularly facing teams backup goalies (which tells you what the league thinks of the team).

The aforementioned Nichols hones in on the blueline, specifically looking at the middling starts of both Cody Ceci and Patrick Wiercioch and proposing that Methot play with the former and Karlsson with the latter (with the obvious scratching of one of the two anchors on the third pairing and adding Wideman).  It’s an interesting read and while I think he’s largely on the money I see no evidence Cameron will go there (he’s more likely to move Cowen up and Wiercioch down in the pairings).

Speaking of Nichols, he and other blogging luminaries were invited to join Ian Mendes for a TSN 1200 show called Advanced Chats.  I haven’t listened to them yet, but intend too.  It’s good on Mendes to reach out to the blogosphere and a good move for radio to try to appeal to a younger fans (for those that don’t know, radio has an elderly and failing audience).


Before I talk about the games, let’s mention the highway robbery Mark Fraser and Zack Stortini are getting with their AHL salaries–I’d say it’s hard to believe, but the long suffering fans in Bingo are used to overpaid AHL vets.  Since both players are “tough in the corners” there are fans who are happy to have them, but I’d rather spend that money (and veteran roster spots) on guys who will help the team win.  Moving on.

The B-Sens lost 3-1 to Rochester on Friday, with some interesting changes to the roster: Ben Harpur and Nick Tuzzolino were scratched on defense, in part because Michael Kostka returned from injury, but also to make room for the recalled Chris Carlisle–overall I liked the move since Binghamton struggles to move the puck from the back end.  However, Eric O’Dell was saddled with the dead weight that Colin Greening is on the first line (Zack Stortini, back from suspension, was happily on the fourth line).  Chris Driedger had the start in goal and here’s a look at the goals:
1. Kostka took a really stupid holding penalty and on the PP a nice cross crease feed results in a goal (no chance for Driedger)
2. the fourth line gets broken down on the cycle and Driedger is beaten from just above the dot
3. Dziurzynski creates a turnover on the PK and a hustling McCormick and Mullen create a 2-on-1 that gets the latter a goal
4. terrible turnover by Fraser in his own zone leads to a big rebound and goal

On Saturday Luke Richardson lost his mind in scratching Tobias Lindberg and Nick Paul, an incredibly stupid decision that resulted in an atrocious 6-1 loss to Toronto that’s not even worth recapping* (Matt O’Connor‘s struggles continued incidentally; Jeff Ulmer offers very brief thoughts on it–I have more on Richardson in a forthcoming post).

[* I decided to take a quick look at the goals at least:
1. Harpur throws the puck away and Nylander beats O’Connor short side with a bullet wrister
2. Robinson loses his stick so can’t defend the high slot where O’Connor is beat through a Greening screen
3. Lepine took an utterly stupid penalty (inexplicably throwing his elbow into the face of the Marlie player) and shortly after the PP Fraser throws the puck away and Panik scores on the 2-on-1
4. O’Dell/Kostka lose the puck battle in the corner and O’Connor somehow gives up a weak backhander right in front
5. Dzingel scores on a sharp angle off a rebound
6. Marlies win the draw and O’Connor is beat cleanly off a weak wrist shot
7. Ewanyk takes a pointless penalty and on the PP O’Connor is beat by the one-timer]

Some sanity returned last night against Leigh Valley as Richardson brought back the two players (randomly scratching Buddy Robison along with the moribund Alex Guptill) and reunited the top line from the start of the season; he also dressed seven defensemen which, given Binghamton’s deficiencies on the blueline, makes some sense.  I was able to watch the bulk of this game, so here are the goals and then a few comments:
1. O’Dell scores off his own rebound on the PP through a screen
2. Really dumb penalties to start the second period (particularly by Travis Ewanyk) lead to the tying goal (a nice cross-crease pass 5-on-3)
3. Stortini has an empty net as Greening beats LaBarbera but hits the underside of the crossbar
4. Dziurzynski wins the draw cleanly and redirects Lepine‘s shot in
5. Stortini scores on the PP as O’Dell‘s pass is redirected to him by a Leigh Valley defenseman
Stortini knocked out in an opening faceoff fight–he missed about half the first period because of it–I’m a bit lost on why Jeff thought this fight was good for the team
-it wasn’t a great night for Kostka, particularly with some terrible decisions on the PP
Dzingel saved a goal when it was 1-1 in the 2nd with a hook that prevented a goal into a wide open net

Despite the score Binghamton was outplayed and were fortunate to come out with a win.  As nice as it was for Stortini to pick up a couple of goals, he wasn’t the best player on the ice for Bingo (Driedger was by far) and anyone who expects that production to continue was probably KO’d by Tyrell Goulbourne (Jeff’s reaction is exactly the kind of thing I feared–hockey fans love a tough guy so he can get away with being useless for 10 games so long as he’s okay in just one).  For those who don’t follow the AHL, Leigh Valley is a terrible team but they heavily outplayed Binghamton (both teams were at the end of 3-in-3, so there’s no excuses there).  Binghamton continues to take too many penalties, aren’t very good on the PK, and struggle to move the puck out of their end–I’m happy about the win, but the underlying problems are not being solved.


After the IceMen’s 3-0 loss (see below) they traded Joe Zarbo for former IceMan star Nathan Moon.  A former Pittsburgh draft pick (4-102/08), Moon has been a productive forward in the ECHL for years now and should help the talent-thin team going forward.  Besides his acquisition Jordan Sims (son of the coach) entered the lineup now that he’s recovered from injury.

On Wednesday a largely lifeless Evansville lost 3-0 to Indy–Bengtsberg took the loss–a quick look at the goals:
1. A nice tip in front
2. Noreau gets turned into a pylon and Bengtsberg gets deked for the goal
3. PP goal off a rebound (poor defensive coverage in front, particularly by Trebish)

On Friday the IceMen had their revenge with a 4-2 win.  Bengtsberg played again (with Greenham taking the week off for a probable groin pull in his last start; Dieude-Fauvel was also hurt in that game).  A look at the goals:
1. Strandberg creates a turnover and his pass to the point is ripped in by Rutkowski for the first Evansville goal in the first period this year
2. After back-to-back saves on the PK Bengtsberg can’t stop the third while on his belly
3. No one picks up Ben Marshall who walks into the slot and rifles the puck passed Bengtsberg
4. Penny springs Fawcett all alone who makes a great move for the goal
5. Strandberg makes a nice little pass to Leveille in the slot who dekes for the goal
6. 2-on-1 Wideman keeps and scores with a knuckleball

On Saturday Evansville lost 2-1 Cincinnati (Noreau was scratched in favour of Rumble).  A look at the goals:
1. Bengstberg beat far side on a 2-on-1
2. 3-on-2 shot through a screen beats Bengtsberg far side
3. Leveille scores a powerplay goal all alone in front with just 17 seconds left

The problem of scoring remains for Evansville and it’s difficult to see how that can be remedied except internally (Moon is a better player than Zarbo, but I’m not sure there are many other bullets in the trade gun for the team).  Evansville’s blueline is awful and it’s their goaltending that’s kept so many of these games close.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News & Notes

This post is a little late as I’ve been away in Mass Effect space for the first time (I blame all errors and spelling mistakes on BioWare).  Anyway, Max McCormick has been returned to Binghamton after Ottawa’s 5-3 loss to Detroit (not a Rembrandt by the Sens, as Callum Fraser discusses).  It’s a sensible move as McCormick is going to have more opportunities to develop in the AHL than limited minutes on Ottawa’s fourth line.  Mark Stone being suspended for two games…I don’t have a strong reaction to it.  I’m fine with players being suspended for hits to the head regardless of intent, but I understand the frustration of the NHL’s lack of consistency–what can you expect from an organisation that puts Chris Pronger as the face of discipline?


Luke P offers some pity observations about stats–basic stuff, but good for those either unfamiliar or struggling with what its all about.  Ary M provides a list of stats websites, incidentally (although he’s using stats in the broadest of possible senses–ie, those that include simply basic things like goals, assists, etc).


I watched Binghamton’s 7-5 loss to Utica on Friday.  The score belies Matt O’Connor‘s continuing struggles in goal.  Here are specific observations:
-first goal: deflection beats O’Connor
Guptill hit the post from the goal line
-fantastic backhand goal by Lindberg on a great feed from Dzingel
Harpur turned into a pylon by Grenier (he does not score, however)
-Utica’s goaltender gaves the puck to Dzingel who pots it into the empty net
Jones ties it on a 3-on-1 with a straight up shot
-needless and dangerous hit by Hobbs (distance from the board)
O’Connor beaten clean from the point on the 5-on-3 PP
-knuckleball beats O’Connor from top of the circle
-turnover at the blueline leads to a great pass from Robinson to Dziurzynski who scores with a redirect
O’Dell giveaway with Shinkaruk all alone in front for the goal
-with Greening hurt the PP lines got scrambled; Ewanyk‘s feed to Dzingel off an rebound makes it 5-4
Lindberg sprung by Dzingel again and scores with the exact same backhand move
O’Connor has a puck just go through him
-missplay by Mullen ultimately leads to the empty net goal

For those paying attention the best Binghamton line all season has been whichever one Tobias Lindberg is playing on–he’s a fantastic possession player with great hands.  O’Connor has given up at least one weak goal with every start and I’m starting to think the team would be better off having him back up Driedger for now rather than simply playing every other game.  Incidentally, after this game Alex Wideman was finally sent down to Evansville–something I expected at the start of the season and is long overdue.


I watched Evansville’s 3-2 win over Greenville.  The lineup had changed once again (Zay-Leveille-Fawcett; Zarbo-Hussey-Strandberg; Penny-Lukin-MacDonald/Dunn; Dieude-Fauvel/Carlsson; Rumble-Rutkowski; Himelson-Humphries; Greenham in net).  The goals:
-a missed defensive assignment (man in front) by Himelson leads to first goal
-poor backcheck by MacDonald leads to the second
Dunn‘s pass deflects in off a defenseman’s skate
Zay wide open in the slot and ties it
Penny gets the winning goal on a nice 3-on-2 play
During the game Hussey went head first into the boards (he didn’t miss a shift) and Leveille was hurt when he was boarded (played very limited shifts afterwards).  Evansville continued to give up a ton of grade A scoring opportunities and Greenham was fantastic.

I didn’t get to watch Evansville’s 5-2 loss to South Carolina, but I have seen the highlights so here are the goals (this was Bengtsberg‘s first start for the team; the only other lineup change was Noreau replacing Dieude-Fauvel on the blueline):
Humphries easily loses a puck battle behind the net and Himelson doesn’t have his man covered in front of the net
Rumble gets walked around resulting from a short breakaway
-no one on the PK picked up the player sneaking down the back who banged in a rebound
Stranberg (who doesn’t picked up an assist on the play) turns the puck over in the offensive zone and Leveille scores with a simple wrist shot from the top of the slot
-5-on-3 goal where South Carolina pounces on a rebound in front with superior numbers
Zarbo shoots from the boards and it goes over Komm who went down early

Scrolling through the game I can add that Noreau looked awful (again), Carlsson looked good, Evansville continued to give up a ton of grade A chances, and poor Bengtsberg played better than his numbers indicate.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News & Notes

I caught parts of Ottawa’s 5-4 shootout win against Calgary last night (the Raaymaker offers a full review), with nothing occurring to change my opinions on players (although Erik Karlsson was struggling at times–perhaps putting too much pressure on himself to do too much).  It’s nice for the team to get the win, but there were no signs that we’re going to see an overall improvement in their play.

dean brown

I try to avoid listening to TSN 1200, but I caught part of the pre-show before last night’s game where Dean Brown not only took Bryan Murray’s stance on Mikael Wikstrand using spurious arguments (it’s not how he or people he knows would behave–for those scoring at home, that’s a logical fallacy–anecdotal in this case), but adding in unsubstantiated rumours to bolster them–that’s beneath him.  Clearly it’s in Brown’s interest to support the choices of the organisation, but adding in unsubstantiated rumours is stooping pretty low.

jared cowen

it’s hard not to think about the man-bun any time Ottawa plays (Raaymaker above has comments, incidentally), and I have to wonder how much of Jared Cowen‘s supposed upside was derived from playing with Jared Spurgeon back in Spokane.  While I think many of us believe that Bryan Murray will never give up on the guy, Murray can be very funny about how he feels about a player–if he ever turns on Cowen he’ll shit all over him and attempt to move him ASAP–I just don’t know what it will take for him to get there.  GMs have a hard time swallowing their egos when it comes to their own first-round picks.


Ray Ferraro (around the 19 minute mark) gives his description and rationale over why puck possession (ergo advanced stats) matter:

To get the puck on net, to go get it, to control it, and to play defense in the other team’s end.  That’s puck possession.  I think initially when people first heard puck possession the image came you know of a big strong forward that cycled the puck in the corner and just kind of held it over there, but I guess that’s one way of possessing the puck.  The other way is to shoot it on the goalie and go get it and keep it in their zone so that by the time the other team gets it they’re so tired they get to the red line and just chip it into your zone and you come right back at them.  That’s puck possession. … My view of the people that don’t acknowledge what some of the advanced metrics might look like–I think they believe in them anyway, they just don’t want to read a chart or a graph about them.

He goes on to talk about Patrick Roy and Todd McLellen’s comments about analytics and it follows the same line.  It’s funny to think that he could be completely spot on that people are simply intimidated or annoyed by the presentation of the facts (either in form or by who presents them).


I watched Binghamton’s 4-3 lose to Wilkes-Barre in an entertaining game they could have won.  The lineup was shook up by roster moves and Richardson scrambled all of his lines (Greening-O’Dell-Schneider, Lindberg-Dzingel-Robinson, Wideman-Paul-Dziurzynski, Guptill-Ewanyk-Hobbs; Fraser-Mullen, Claesson-Carlisle, Harpur-Tuzzolino).  Here are the highlights:
-poor defensive coverage by Alex Wideman leads to the Penguins first goal
-terrible coverage by Tuzzolino nearly costs another
-Richardson put the fourth line on one of the powerplays and the only moment of note was nearly giving up a shorthanded goal
Mark Fraser made an ill-advised hit attempt that lead to a 3-on-1 and the Penguins second goal
Danny Hobbs lost his defensive assignment that lead to a wide open chance in front of the net
Nick Paul missed a wide open net off a rebound
Chris Carlisle made it 2-1 on the powerplay with a one-timer top-shelf
-a terrible line change and a slow Tuzzolino made it 3-1
Cole Schneider roofed it off a face-off win on the powerplay
-BSens tied it on a late second period powerplay as the Penguins own-goaled off Schneider‘s centering feed
Patrick Mullen made a great pass to Alex Guptill in traffic to give him a mini-breakaway (nothing came of it)
Tuzzolino made a good defensive play during a trainwreck in front of the net
-Pens score on a shot off the rush simply beating Chris Driedger
Wideman had a great chance off the rush, but couldn’t handle a bouncing puck
-BSens didn’t generate much of anything in the final 90 seconds with the goaltender pulled

General observations: Carlisle played very sparingly, as Richardson mostly rotated the other five defensemen; I can see why the smallish defenseman wasn’t drafted despite good offensive numbers–he doesn’t have great speed; the usual players were the best for the BSens again–I can’t emphasize enough how good Tobias Lindberg‘s hands are (great game for Ryan Dzingel as well–lot’s of chances); Greening should not be on a scoring line (I’d rather see Paul in his place); Robinson also shouldn’t be on a scoring line–he seems to have only a binary function: shoot or throw the puck into the corner.  It’s amazing how competitive the BSens have been with weak depth at forward (icing essentially a full ECHL fourth line) and a talent-starved blueline–if there are any key injuries or more callups the team is going to crash and burn.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News & Notes


The Sens recalled Matt Puempel due to various injuries; his addition makes more sense than Max McCormick, but he’s still not the most deserving BSen to be recalled (so much for the organisations vaunted claim of rewarding their best players in the minors).  Binghamton has also recalled Chris Carlisle–perhaps the gong show that is Tuzzolino will end.  I think Troy Rutkowski was more deserving, but Carlisle is an adequate pick.

Ross A makes the case (and he’s preaching to the choir here) that Shane Prince deserves some top-six consideration–or at least freedom from the lead weights that are Chris Neil and Zack Smith.  At least for tonight it appears as though Cameron agrees, although he’s scratching Chris Wideman and giving us the gruesome Cowen-Borowiecki combination again (perhaps Calgary is bad enough to get away with it–we shall see)–granted some believe he has little choice here with the directives coming from on high.


We finally know the real Mikael Wikstrand story both for why he left the team and why he wanted to stay in Sweden.  In an interview he revealed his brother is suffering from leukemia and also talked about the situation with Ottawa (this is via Google translate):

Why did you not tell me anything about this earlier in the conversation you had with Ottawa?

“I do not know … It’s really bad of me. It’s me terribly sorry that I did not. I should have taken it up in a prettier way and told me why I wanted to play at home. But I’m a guy that keeps a lot of things for myself, keep it in the family. My agent did not know about it before.”

Do you regret that choice in retrospect?

“It’s done. I should have said it to the agent, Ottawa and Farjestad how it is – and why I wanted to play closer to home. There is a big factor.”

It’s very easy to wag one’s finger at Wikstrand and tell him he could and should have handled things better, but to my mind it’s pretty understandable that larger concerns made him lose sight of the proper way to handle it (I certainly echo Nichols points on the matter).  My hope is this allows some rapprochement between he and the organisation.


I missed watching Binghamton’s 4-1 loss live and haven’t had the time to pour over the game in detail, but I have a few observations to supplement Jeff Ulmer‘s recap:
-the BSens lone (powerplay) goal came off a terrible line change by the Devils with Puempel banging in Nick Paul‘s rebound
-prior to that, Puempel took a selfish double minor
Zack Stortini‘s boarding penalty was less malevolence and more his own stupidity (which is still no excuse)
-the first goal on O’Connor was a stinker as the 6’5 goaltender was deep in his net and beat five-hole at a terrible angle
-the second Devils goal rests on the shoulders of Mike Kostka who was caught watching the play
-the third goal was much the same as Travis Ewanyk had no idea there was a player behind him in the slot
-I have no idea why Eric O’Dell felt the need to instigate a fight after the hit on Tobias Lindberg–it was a bit low, but not particularly dirty (low to the hip, not at the knees)
-the fourth goal was a rocket one-timer, so no chance for O’Connor
-Jeff points out that the powerplay has been awful and the key problem (as I’ve said continually) is putting Stortini on it (he has the #1 and #2 powerplays reversed in his post on special teams–he also missed PK regular Cole Schneider, who has one of Binghamton’s two shorthanded goals; I agree with him on who has been the better goaltender thus far–Driedger)

The league has done the BSens a favour by suspending Stortini for a couple of games.  A quick additional note: Buddy Robinson is healthy again and will join the lineup tonight.

EA NHL hockey simmed the NHL season just prior too (not very meaningful, but for those curious, they had the Sens just squeaking into the playoffs).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)


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