Senators News: October 15th; Binghamton 4, Syracuse 5 (OT)

Today I’ll start with a look at Binghamton’s loss and then go into Sens news:

Looking for their first win of the season and bolstered by the addition of Nikita Filatov, Binghamton fell just short in OT.  The box score link and Joy Lindsay’s game log linkFilatov lead the way with two goals and an assist while Kaspars Daugavins had a goal and assist.  Mike McKenna took the loss while Corey Cowick, Mark Parrish, and Patrick Wiercioch all finished -2.

Joy Lindsay has post-game comments (link and link).  Kurt Kleinendorst talked about Filatov‘s debute, “I thought he was excellent.  There are some things that we definitely can help him with — absolutely, no question. He’s never going to be Frankie (Francis Lessard) when it comes to finishing checks. But I know we can help him be honest on the puck. Even if he’s not going to go through his check, he’s going to at least stop on the puck, stop on his check. If we can do that one thing for him, I think that we’ve really helped him. I bet you I saw him three times bury his head and backcheck tonight. What a nice … that was good to see. It just shows you that he came with the right attitude, that he came down here to do what they’re challenging him to do.  He’s a talent. He’s definitely a talent. And so what we need to do is help him, help his game when he doesn’t have the puck, because he doesn’t need a whole lot of help with the puck. As long as he’s not turning pucks over — which players like that will do, because they’re special players, and you give them a little bit of slack. For me, I thought it was a real nice start. If we can just keep him playing like that every night with the puck, and then just help him a little bit without the puck, I think it’s mission accomplished.”

Filatov himself said, “It’s always nice to have a goal right away in the game. It kind helps you a lot, especially because that was the first one for me on the season. I can’t say I was under pressure or something, like nervous or something about scoring a goal even though it was pretty long, just happy that it went in — finally.”  Mark Parrish also commented on his performance, “A guy with his talent, his skill, obviously Ottawa liked him enough to keep him up there, give him a nice extra look. You get a chance to get a guy like that on your team, and he can come out and produce like that, play like that, it shows a message not only to the guys on the team, but to the organization, that he’s willing to play hockey and he’s willing to come down here and work hard and do what it takes to get back up. That’s impressive. I like to see that. It’s fun to be a part of.”

The Ottawa Sun‘s Don Brennan writes about Mika Zibanejad (link), with Nick Foligno saying “Just shows how our scouting staff did a great job finding him. He’s definitely a man-child, so to speak. But he still has a lot of things to learn. I remember coming in at 19 and you’ve got lots of things to learn. He’s 18 years old. There’s a whole new world almost to him right here … it’s learning the ways of life over here and becoming a good NHL player. It’s a lot to ask, but he’s been really good. He’s asking questions, he’s learning a lot. I think he’s surrounded himself with good guys, sitting right next to Alfie. It’s only going to get better for him.”

The Ottawa Citizen‘s Allen Panzeri writes about the game ahead (link) and while there’s nothing new, he forebodes that the Senators season is in jeopardy unless things changes.  The season in jeopardy?  Perhaps Panzeri had dreams of the team challenging for the playoffs, but rebuilds are ugly, especially in the first couple of months.  I’ve read and heard this sentiment from other members of the Ottawa media and it makes me scratch my head.

-Panzeri’s partner at the Citizen, Wayne Scanlan (link) understands the idea behind the rebuild, but worries that fans booing the 7-1 loss somehow means they don’t understand the pains of what a rebuild means (“So much for fans being patient with the Senators’ rebuilding effort. What  happened to everyone being on board? It all sounded so good in theory. And yet,  in the final minutes of the season’s fourth game, fans cheered sarcastically  when Ottawa managed a shot on goal (there were only 16 all night).”  Scanlan is a savvy guy so I think he’s just addressing the possibility of fan impatience.

Bobby Butler has a groin problem and won’t play tonight.

-The debate about head shots in the NHL continues to burn (here’s Sports Illustrated‘s Stu Hackel’s thoughts on Don Cherry, link) and I wanted to offer an opinion I don’t hear in Ottawa very often (I find the views of The Team 1200, The Ottawa Sun, and The Ottawa Citizen fairly homogenous).  I’d describe the opinion of the media here as follows: the game needs to be played a certain way and that includes a lot of physicality–with that comes an element of risk.  It’s a straightforward opinion and on the surface it’s not something you can argue with, but I don’t think it addresses the issue.

There are two points I want to make.  The first is very simple: the implication of the above argument is that there are an acceptable number of brain injuries in the league.  Those who advocate eliminating hits to the head already accept the fact that you cannot completely prevent them–that’s not the issue–but they want players to be able to live their lives after their short careers are over.  This point has not been meaningfully addressed at all by those who oppose headshot rules (other than to say players tacitly or implicitly accept the risk when they lace on the skates, ala Brooks Laich‘s comments).  My problem with the consistent comment of “keep your head up” or “be aware of who is on the ice” is that it’s not an argument or an answer.  The hits people want out of the game are illegal to begin with.  Awareness makes sense in any circumstance in life, but that doesn’t give others the right to take advantage of you in moments of vulnerability.

The second point is that the game isn’t played the way it was 15-20 years ago.  Star players never used to be targeted–Wayne Gretzky skated around untouched throughout the bulk of his career.  That’s no longer the case, star players (Paul Kariya, Marc Savard, David Perron, etc) are subject to the same physical punishment dished out by marginal players.  No one pays for a ticket to watch a player like Garnett Exelby blow up a star player.  To me, the paying customer is the ultimate issue in the discussion.  People will pay to see Sidney Crosby play, but they won’t buy tickets to watch Matt Cooke.

-Joy Lindsay thinks Corey Cowick and Bobby Raymond will be the scratches for tonight’s Binghamton game (link), with Robin Lehner getting the start.

-Former Senator David Hale has announced his retirement (link).

Max Gratchev has been assigned to Elmira (link).

-The Elmira Jackals won their first game of the season 7-3 over Trenton.  Josh Godfrey had two assists, Jack Downing an assist, Louie Caporusso no points and Brian Stewart got the win.