Senators News: October 2nd

Here’s today’s Sens news:

The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch writes about Jason Spezza being given an “A” this season (link), an expected move given all the talk about his leadership at the end of last season.  Alfredsson said “He’s one of the best players in the league. He’s been around a long time, he’s played at the world juniors, was part of the Olympics (in 2006) and the world championships, so he’s got a lot of experience. He’s a good team guy. He helps the young guys a lot and makes my life a lot easier as well.

-Garrioch also writes about the current roster (link), where Mika Zibanejad shows a very realistic view of his current status, “We’ll see what happens when every team has their best team. You’ve got to be able to take your game to the next level.”  Garrioch says that Da Costa is with the team depending on Peter Regin‘s health, with the same caveat for Rundblad in regards to Carkner and Phillips injuries, but this reads like speculation on his part.

The Ottawa Citizen‘s Allen Panzeri also writes about Zibanejad (link), which includes an interesting comment from Alfredsson, “When you’re a high pick, that usually means you have a lot of skill. But for  a guy who doesn’t have a lot of experience playing against men, he’s doing  really well. He’s smart, with the puck and without the puck, and I think that’s why he  has surprised a lot of people. He just has to play the same way. It’s a different intensity level once the regular season starts, but I’m  sure he’s just going to follow everybody else. I thought the game in Boston (a 2-1 Ottawa win) was high intensity. It was  one of the better exhibition games I’ve played in, and he handled himself really  well in that one. So I don’t think it will be a tough adjustment for him going forward. He’ll  do well.

The Ottawa Citizen‘s Wayne Scanlan writes about what to expect of the team heading into this season (link).  It’s an interesting article and I agree with him when he says, “But with a team this inexperienced, there will be more than a few rope-a-dope  nights during which the Senators strive to just hang in there behind the heroics  of Anderson. Outshot 40-20, the Senators probably had no business winning the game 2-1,  but Anderson stole it, as he will have to time and again for the Senators to  stay afloat in the Eastern Conference.”  Scanlan ends his article with 12 questions for this season, which in brief are: 1. Who will score?  2. Can Anderson handle the load?  3. Will the older blueliners rebound?  4-5. Will the young players rise to the occasion?  6. Is this Alfredsson‘s last year?  7. Will Spezza emerge as a complete player?  8. Will the middle-tier players (Regin, Foligno, Lee) emerge?  9. Can Zibanejad have an impact?  10. Will the Filatov gamble pay off?  11. Will fans be patient?  12. What constitutes a successful season?  These are all excellent, pertinent questions and the reasons behind why so many prognosticators are picking the Sens to be at the bottom of the conference–too many things have to go their way for that to change.

-The Binghamton Senators lost 4-3 to Hamilton last night.  Corey Cowick, Jim O’Brien, and Kyle Reeds scored the goals for Binghamton.  The B-Sens were down 3-1, fought back to tie, and then Mark Parrish took a dumb penalty that lost them the game in regulation.  The most recent cuts from Ottawa are joining Binghamton today.

-I’ve been listening to the sports media debate the suspensions that have been handed out this pre-season and have to wonder if there’s an actual point to it.  There are clearly some players and journalists who don’t like what’s happened, but I don’t believe it extends very far into the fan base.  The Hockey News‘ Ryan Kennedy looks at the issue from the standpoint of current players (link) and includes a good quote from Ryan Miller, “It’s a small group of guys making it difficult for the rest of us. We’re trying to get that culture out where it’s OK to be a little rat on the ice and not have to be accountable for it. No one has to fight now if they don’t want to and I think some guys hide behind that. So they go out and try to hurt guys and play a game I don’t think our fans want to see.”  I believe the changes are a reflection of what fans want (along with potential fear about lawsuits like the ones the NFL face).  Those who oppose the policy would be better off avoiding hysterics (eg there won’t be any hitting).  Kneejerk reactions to change are common, but it’s odd to me to see them coming without much support from fans.  Regardless, I expect to see the debate continue for months more.