Senators News: October 17th; Binghamton 4, Albany 2

The Ottawa Sun‘s Don Brennan explores a flight of fancy in comparing Ottawa’s young blueliners to those of the 1970s Montreal Canadiens (link).  Putting aside the hyperbole, he quotes Rundblad, “It’s easier when you get more ice time, easier to get into the game, get more confidence. I think I had just three shifts in the first period, but then Sergei went out, and of course they can’t play with three D … I think I played pretty good.”

-In the same article Paul MacLean assess the team’s play overall, “We feel if we play more like we played against Minnesota and we played (against Washington), and the third period in Detroit, and the third period in Toronto … the only game we’ve really been no good in is the Colorado game. We’ve had parts of the way we want to play in the other four games this year. So those are certainly building blocks.”  Alex Auld offers up his reason for the Johansson wrap-around goal, “It was kind of a tough play. Those plays early in the year can be tough, when you haven’t seen a lot of game action.”  He’s suggesting he gets a mulligan in his first start, which is a poor excuse for him to use.

The Ottawa Citizen‘s James Gordon has started beating the drum to bring Nikita Filatov back (link).  To me, Filatov‘s fate is tied to Stephane Da Costa‘s, since they are the only two-way contracts on the team (I’m assuming Mika Zibanejad is sent back to Sweden).

-The Binghamton Senators won their second game in a row, defeating Albany 4-2.  I did not see the game, so I’m reliant on reports (the box score is here link, Joy Lindsay’s game comments here link).  Pat Cannone lead the way with a goal and assist, Filatov scored again and shared the best plus/minus with Bobby Raymond (+2).  Albany tough guy Tim Sestito ran Mark Borowiecki head first into the boards in the second period; Borowiecki left the game, but tweets he’s fine (link).  Binghamton’s next game is on Friday.

-Joy Lindsay has post-game comments up (link), including the following from Kurt Kleinendorst, “Well, I only had six forwards that were honest. That’s the way it works. Honestly, you can’t keep feeding ice time to guys who don’t deserve it. And if you think about, the last seven minutes of the second period, where was the puck? It was in their end. The first 13 minutes, it was in our end the whole time. That’s just … But I give the guys credit, because we basically just wiped the slate clear after two, and everyone got a chance in the third, and they all responded.”

-Prospect updates (their position in team scoring is noted in brackets for the CHL and Europe; defenseman are compared to themselves):
CHL
Jakub Culek (Rimouski, QMJHL) 9-0-3-3 (15th)
Mark Stone (Brandon, WHL) 9-6-15-21 (1st)
Stefan Noesen (Plymouth, OHL) 8-1-6-7 (6th)
Matt Puempel (Peterborough, OHL) 10-6-7-13 (1st)
Shane Prince (Ottawa 67s, OHL) 3-2-1-3 (missed time due to injury)
Jean-Gabriel Pageau (Gatineau, QMJHL) 8-8-6-14 (2nd)
Darren Kramer (Spokane, WHL) 7-6-4-10 (2nd)
Jordan Fransoo (Brandon, WHL) 9-0-1-1 (5th)
SEL
Jakob Silfverberg (Brynas) 12-3-4-7 (4th)
Marcus Sorensen (Skelleftea J20) 7-2-2-4 (6th)
Fredrik Claesson (Djurgarden) 12-1-0-1 (4th)
NCAA
Ben Blood (North Dakota) 4-1-1-2
Chris Wideman (Miami) 4-1-3-4
Jeff Costello (Notre Dame) 2-0-2-2
Brad Peltz (Yale) DNP
Michael Sdao (Princeton) DNP
Bryce Aneloski (Nebraska-Omaha) 4-0-4-4
Max McCormick (Ohio State) 4-1-3-4
Ryan Dzingel (Ohio State) 4-3-2-5

-The following comments were made in regards to mine about head shots (which are appreciated and are well put):

“1. Lots of fans go to the games to see star players get blown up. IMO the price of the ticket would be worth it to see Neil destroy Crosby the way he did Stoner or Little. Big hits are an exciting part of the game and is at least part of the reason why many fans pay to see the games.”

Without a formal study it’s difficult to say what most fans want, but presumably if having players getting their heads taken off was a big draw the NHL wouldn’t continue languish in obscurity south of the border.  When you see the most successful league on the planet (the NFL) moving away from hits like these, it should be a sign of which way the wind is blowing.

2. Players always targeted the stars. People didn’t hit Gretzky because they didn’t want to get their ass kicked by the three or four enforcers protecting him. The only difference now is that there is an instigator rule so players who would normally target the stars no longer have to worry about fighting for their actions. If you get rid of the instigator rule than you won’t have to worry about players like Cooke taking dirty hits at star players because they will get their head caved in the first time they do it.

I think fans forget that fighting was much rarer in the pre-expansion NHL (1967) and not used as a deterrent (there are arguments it began in the 1960s, but I don’t want to get into the minutia of when–my point is that the role is not an original facet of the NHL).  I don’t think it’s at all clear that the instigator rule suddenly created these kinds of hits.  I remember hockey in the 1980s very well and enforcers protected their rats as much as they did their superstars.  It’s apparent the instigator rule will never be taken out, so that as a solution (if it is one) is a dead letter.

If we all agree there is a problem with head shots (and I think everyone agrees that there is), those who dislike the changes to the rules need to offer a viable solution.  I like the OHL approach, but perhaps some other method will evolve.  In the meantime there are still plenty of shots to the head (like the one on Colin Greening on Saturday) that will go uncalled and unpunished.