Ottawa 3, Boston 5

The Ottawa Senators played poorly and deserved tonight’s loss.  It was an ugly game for several players and Ottawa had no answer to Boston’s aggressive forecheck.  For the box score here link.  Paul MacLean finally played Bobby Butler a little more, but Nikita Filatov barely saw the ice (he wasn’t bad in his limited moments).  A look at the goals:
1. Foligno (Da Costa, Butler)
A fortunate bounce after Da Costa wins a battle along the boards
2. Boston, Lucic (pp)
Karlsson can’t control Lucic in front of the net who buries a rebound
3. Da Costa (Foligno, Neil)
A great play by Rundblad leads to a great play by Foligno to set up Da Costa
4. Boston, Bergeron
3-on-2 with Anderson having no chance
5. Boston, Kelly
Both Da Costa and Foligno collapse down low leaving the top of the slot open for a one-timer
6. Cowen (Neil, Foligno)
Weak wrister flutters through the Neil screen
7. Boston, Boychuk
Anderson can’t pick up the point shot through the screen (the play developing from a Spezza turnover just inside the blueline)
8. Boston, Paille
An ugly five-hole goal to Paille who out skates Gonchar for a mini-breakaway

In a game this bad it’s hard to reward any player with positive comments, but I have to acknowledge Nick Foligno‘s three-point night and Zack Smith‘s strong game.

The worst players tonight (and it’s hard to pick among the many):
Jason Spezza – lead the team in turnovers and accomplished absolutely nothing
Zenon Konopka – he barely played, but fighting Shawn Thornton right after the Sens scored was dumb–it gave the Bruins and the crowd life

Senators News: November 1st

-It’s been confirmed that Daniel Alfredsson has suffered a concussion and will miss at least a week

The Ottawa Sun‘s Don Brennan (link) and The Ottawa Citizen‘s Allen Panzeri (link) both report Bryan Murray’s puzzlement over Brendan Shanahan’s decision to not suspend Wojtek Wolski.  The explanation Murray was offered was as follows: “Basically what I was told is the player (Wolski) reacted to contact and stiffened up, but didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. He just happened to hit Alfredsson in the head.”  But Murray doesn’t sound as fired up as I expected, saying “It’s my player and I have an emotional attachment to him, so no, I told him I didn’t agree. I felt that the player did go out of his way, a little, to make contact. That it was an elbow involved in the play, and I thought we had determined, a shoulder check, contacted with short vs.  taller players and all that type of thing, would be considered an accidental hit, but an elbow to the head would be a suspension.”  Maybe Murray is being circumspect, but the emphasis he puts on it is that he disagrees because it’s his player.

-Panzeri (above) says that Ottawa has one of the foremost experts on concussions on staff (Dr. Mark Aubry), which is fortunate for Alfredsson

The Ottawa Sun‘s Chris Stevenson writes about Ottawa beating expectations (link).  I recommend reading the full article and I agree with Stevenson when he says, “One of the first things you would look at in such a dramatic improvement is the goaltending, but I think the biggest reason for the Senators’ turnaround has been the fact they have gotten much better in how they break out of their end. They’re getting the puck out.”  He also rightly points out that the Sens breakouts (good passes out of their zone) has been a key improvement as well.  A final point in the article, “One of the things the Senators like is how good they’ve been at recovering the puck after a scoring chance on the power play, keeping the opposition’s penalty killers on the ice and grinding them down. That’s nothing but hard work.”

The Ottawa Sun‘s Don Brennan writes about the Sens streak (link) which includes an interesting comment from Colin Greening, “I like it in front of the net. Statistically, if you look at where most of the goals are scored, it’s within like six feet of the crease, and if they want to put me there, fine. I’m a big body, I can screen goalies, make it hard for them to see the puck. When you have talented shooters like Karlsson, Michalek, Spezza, Gonchar, obviously, they’re able to shoot around me, which is nice. Sometimes it can be bad, sometimes it can be good. Sometimes you need to put in a little extra padding in certain areas … I don’t want to say too much. It’s part of the game.”

-Allen Panzeri writes for Senators Extra that the Sens were motivated by their embarrassing losses at the beginning of the season (link), with Jason Spezza saying, “I think they were wake-up calls for us. In hindsight, it was better that we lost those games 7-1 and 7-2, instead of 3-2 or 2-1, because it doesn’t allow you to think you were in the game. We weren’t doing things right, and when we started to do things right we were rewarded for it.”

-Joy Lindsay reports that Bobby Raymond has been sent back to Florida in the ECHL

Marcus Sorensen has finally been loaned to a team in the Allsvenskan (Boras, link)

-Power rankings are out (TSN link, THN link, and ESPN link) with Ottawa ranked 19th, 17th, and 8th.  Adam Proteau (THN) writes “Have to give coach Paul MacLean, young Sens credit for six straight wins” and Scott Burnside (ESPN) saying “What a turnaround for the red-hot Senators, who have won six in a row after Sunday’s victory in the Battle of Ontario. Perhaps more impressive is the manner in which the Sens are stealing victories, as they did from the Panthers and the New York Rangers after falling behind. The Sens boast the top-ranked power play in the league but rank dead last in goals allowed per game. Go figure.”

-Prospect updates (their position in team scoring is noted in brackets, defence compared to defence):
CHL
Jakub Culek (Rimouski, QMJHL) 14-2-5-7 (9th)
Mark Stone (Brandon, WHL) 15-11-20-31 (1st)
Stefan Noesen (Plymouth, OHL) 11-2-10-12 (5th)
Matt Puempel (Peterborough, OHL) 15-7-7-14 (t-1st)
Shane Prince (Ottawa 67s, OHL) 8-3-11-14 (4th)
Jean-Gabriel Pageau (Gatineau, QMJHL) 12-14-7-21 (1st)
Darren Kramer (Spokane, WHL) 11-7-6-13 (2nd)
Jordan Fransoo (Brandon, WHL) 15-0-1-1 (6th)
SEL
Jakob Silfverberg (Brynas) 17-6-7-13 (2nd)
Marcus Sorensen (Skelleftea J20) 8-2-3-5 (has been loaned to Boras)
Fredrik Claesson (Djurgarden) 16-1-3-4 (3rd)
Mika Zibanejad (Djurgarden) DNP
NCAA
Ben Blood (WCHA-North Dakota) 8-1-2-3 (3rd)
Chris Wideman (CCHA-Miami) 10-1-3-4 (t-1st)
Jeff Costello (CCHA-Notre Dame) 2-0-2-2 (injured)
Brad Peltz (ECAC-Yale) DNP
Michael Sdao (ECAC-Princeton) DNP
Bryce Aneloski (WCHA-Nebraska-Omaha) 8-1-6-7 (1st)
Max McCormick (CCHA-Ohio State) 4-1-3-4 (injured)
Ryan Dzingel (CCHA-Ohio State) 7-3-4-7 (t-2nd)

The Binghamton Senators at the Ten Game Mark

After 10 games Binghamton sits at 5-4-1, their record good enough for 4th in the division, 8th in the conference, and 13th in the overall standings.  They are tied for 14th in goals for and tied for 20th in goals against.  A quick snapshot of player’s stats (INJ=games missed due to injury, SCR=scratched, NHL=games in the NHL, ECHL=games in the ECHL):
Mark Parrish 9-5-2-7 -2 1 INJ
Corey Locke 8-0-7-7 -3 2 INJ
Kaspars Daugavins 7-4-2-6 Even 4 NHL (4-1-0-1)
Pat Cannone 10-3-3-6 +1
Mike Hoffman 10-3-3-6 -2
Nikita Filatov 7-4-1-5 +3 3 NHL (3-0-1-1)
Derek Grant 9-2-3-5 +2 1 SCR
Patrick Wiercioch 10-1-4-5 -2
Jim O’Brien 10-1-3-4 +2
Andre Petersson 9-2-1-3 +2 1 INJ
Eric Gryba 10-1-2-3 -3
Tim Conboy 10-0-3-3 +4
Wacey Hamilton 10-1-1-2 -1
Josh Godfrey 4-0-2-2 +2 1 SCR 2 ECHL (2-0-2-2)
David Dziurzynski 9-0-2-2 +1 1 INJ
Craig Schira 9-0-2-2 -1 1 SCR
Corey Cowick 8-1-0-1 +1 2 SCR
Bobby Raymond 3-0-1-1 +2 5 SCR 3 ECHL (3-2-1-3)
Jack Downing 4-0-1-1 Even 2 SCR 2 ECHL (2-0-2-2)
Shaun Heshka 4-0-1-1 -2 4 SCR
Francis Lessard 7-0-1-1 -1 3 SCR
Mark Borowiecki 10-0-1-1 +3
Mike Radja 2-0-1-1 +1 4 ECHL (4-4-3-7)
Maxime Gratchev 1-0-0-0 Even 2 SCR 5 ECHL (5-2-2-4)
Louie Caporusso 0-0-0-0 2 SCR 5 ECHL (5-1-4-5)
Robin Lehner 4-2-0 2.77 .927 (pulled once) 2 NHL (1-0-0 2.00 .920)
Mike McKenna 1-3-0 3.68 .896
Brian Stewart 0-0-0 2 ECHL (1-1-0 3.01 .933)

A few things thoughts: the biggest surprise to me is Pat Cannone, who was largely invisible in training camp.  He’s an older rookie (25) and has made the easiest adjustment to the pro game.  Jim O’Brien, who is apparently playing well, is not producing at the same pace as last year (something I predicted prior to the season).  Patrick Wiercioch‘s production has been much better to start the season (it’s the second most productive month of his AHL career).  AHL-veteran Shaun Heshka has not won the confidence of the coaches and unless something changes he’s going to spend most of the year warming the pressbox.

As I said in my look at Ottawa after ten games, I don’t think we’ll have a real sense of team trends until the 20-game mark, but this serves as a point in time that can be referred too later in the season.