Senators News: November 19th; Binghamton 4, Hamilton 2

The Ottawa Sun‘s Bruce Garrioch asks himself five about the Sens (link): 1. Can the Senators remain a playoff contender?, 2. Is the sky the limit for Erik Karlsson?, 3. Is Craig Anderson rounding into form?, 4. Do the Senators need a second-line centre?, 5. What happens when Matt Carkner returns?  Garrioch doesn’t answer his questions, but my views are: 1. No–at their current pace they will finish with 84 points (which would be 11th in the East last year), 2. Yes, 3. I don’t think Anderson could have played worse at the start of the season, so yes, I think he is rounding into form, 4. Until they’ve seen Peter Regin play a substantial number of games I don’t think they know, 5. Either David Rundblad gets sent to Binghamton (which I doubt unless it’s clearly temporary), they carry eight defenseman, or they trade a blueliner.

-In another article Garrioch gets comments from Murray and MacLean about the team’s performance thus far (link), with MacLean saying, “My expectations were, we were picked to be last, we earned that distinction somehow and I think, at this point in time, we are a little better than that. We’re still working to be better every day and we’ve gone through some adversity which has helped to make us stronger. We’ve had some success, some adversity and now we’re having success again. That’s kind of what we expected with the type of players we have. At this time, we’re really pleased to be where we are.”  Murray adds, “Being above .500 after the first 20 games, especially after changing a number of the players, certainly I’m satisfied and I’m more satisfied because we had a streak at the beginning where we didn’t look like a very good team. The good thing is, history tells me that you should get a little better as you go forward. Young players will grow, get used to the league somewhat and be able to produce more consistently.”

The Ottawa Citizen‘s Wayne Scanlan gives the Sens rookies grades (link), without providing the specifics of what those grades are based on.  Briefly: Jared Cowen A- (“Tough. Physical. Strong defensively. A player on track to be developed  into a top-pairing, shutdown defenceman in the mould of a Zdeno Chara…. Cowen has just one goal and no  assists, the points will come as the rookie becomes more comfortable in the  league“), David Rundblad C- (“The Swedish rookie is adjusting to a completely different style of game and size of ice surface. …Rundblad’s game is predicated on skill and risk, and it will take time to do this at the NHL level. Rundblad has shown brilliant flashes and horrible giveaways“), Bobby Butler C (“He’s a shooter, right?  Then shoot, Bobby, shoot! Fourteen shots in 11 games does not a sniper make“), Stephane Da Costa C+ (“The jury is out on Da Costa, a small, likeable centre with terrific vision“), Erik Condra B (“You could set your watch by this dependable checking winger“), Kaspars Daugavins B+ (“The [PK] unit has been vastly improved since Daugavins rejoined the team early this month”), Colin Greening A- (“none has had more opportunity than the man his teammates call the Cyborg: a spot on the first line alongside centre Jason Spezza…. Greening is minus-8, tied with Da Costa for the team worst“).  My grades: Cowen is a B+ (save the A’s for rookies who dominate like Gabriel Landeskog), Rundblad is a B- (he’s not expected to be a defensive dynamo), Butler is a C- (yes he’s produced lately, but he was awful previously), Da Costa is a C (if Regin were healthy he’d be in Binghamton), I agree with Condra, Daugavins is a B (he was regularly a minus player until recently, unlike his linemates), and Greening is a B+.

-The Binghamton Senators snapped their losing streak last night and defeated Hamilton 4-2.  Nikita Filatov and Mark Parrish each had 3-point games while PTO Riley Armstrong had a two-point night.  For the box score go here link, for Joy Lindsay’s game summary go here link.

-Joy Lindsay’s post-game notes includes some interesting quotes from Kurt Kleinendorst (link), “He hasn’t been any kind of distraction, Nikita, for me. He’s taking the right approach. I can’t speak to what’s going on because I haven’t talked to Bryan, haven’t really discussed it with Nikita. But I’m not too concerned about it, because to me, his attitude has been very good, very productive. Tonight was a perfect example of that. When he wants to play, he’s a pretty special player.” And “He [Armstrong] had a big goal, but it’s more than that. He took key faceoffs, won key faceoffs. He’s been around, has hundreds of games in the American League. He’s a solid veteran player and brings a solid veteran presence, which is maybe something that we’ve been missing. He played an important role here for us. And all our younger guys played well, as well. That’s the good thing. We are all about development, and you develop better when you win. I thought Mark Parrish was awfully good. Mike McKenna was awfully good. And the list goes on. David Dziurzynski was awfully good. You can’t pin this win on any one player. It really was everyone.

-The Elmira Jackals lost 5-3 last night; Louie Caporusso had two assists and Jack Downing scored his first professional goal

-ISS has released their updated top-30 prospects for the 2012 draft (for a look at the old list, go here link; I’ve listed their previous rank in brackets):
1. Grigorenko, Mikhail, RW 5/16/94 L 6.03.25 200 Québec QMJHL (2)
2. Yakupov, Nail, LW 10/6/93 L 5.10.5 189 Sarnia OHL (1)
3. Forsberg, Filip, RW 8/13/94 R 6.01 176 Leksands SweAl (4)
4. Murray, Ryan, LD 9/27/93 L 6.00.5 201 Everett WHL (3)
5. Dumba, Matt, RD 7/25/94 R 5.11.75 183 Red Deer WHL (6)
6. Trouba, Jacob, RD 2/26/94 R 6.02 196 USA Under-18 NTDP (7)
7. Koekkoek, Slater, LD 2/18/94 L 6.02 184 Peterborough OHL (10)
8. Aberg, Pontus, LW 9/23/93 R 5.11 187 Djurgarden SweE (19)
9. Gaunce, Brendan, C 3/25/94 L 6.02 215 Belleville OHL (8)
10. Rielly, Morgan, LD 3/9/94 L 5.11.5 190 Moose Jaw WHL (5)
11. Ceci, Cody, RD 12/21/93 R 6.02.5 207 Ottawa OHL (20)
12. Reinhart, Griffin, LD 1/24/94 L 6.03.75 207 Edmonton WHL (11)
13. Maatta, Olli, LD 8/22/94 L 6.01.5 202 London OHL (16)
14. Maidens, Jarrod, C 3/4/94 L 6.00.5 178 Owen Sound OHL (13)
15. Frk, Martin, RW 10/5/93 L 5.11.5 204 Halifax QMJHL (14)
16. Collberg, Sebastian, RW 2/23/94 R 5.11 174 Vastra SweJE (15)
17. Galchenyuk, Alexander, RW 2/12/94 L 6.00.5 198 Sarnia OHL (17)
18. Pouliot, Derrick, D 1/16/94 L 5.11.25 186 Portland WHL (22)
19. Kerdiles, Nicholas, C/L 1/11/94 L, 6.01.5 200 USA Under-18 NTDP (26)
20. Girgensons, Zemgus, F 1/5/94 L 6.01.25 201 Dubuque USHL (23)
21. Matheson, Mike, LD 2/27/94 L 6.01.25 180 Dubuque USHL (24)
22. Ebert, Nick, RD 5/11/94 R 5.11.25 205 Windsor OHL (9)
23. Athanasiou, Andreas, C 8/6/94 L 6.00 179 London OHL (18)
24. Sissons, Colton, C/R 11/5/93 L 6.01 189 Kelowna WHL (NR)
25. Slepyshev, Anton, LW 5/13/94 R 6.02 187 Novokuznetsk KHL (27)
26. Wilson, Thomas, RW, 3/29/94 R 6.03.5 203 Plymouth OHL (NR)
27. Curcuruto, Gianluca, LD 2/25/94 L 6.00.25 195 S.S. Marie OHL (28)
28. Skjei, Brady, LD 3/26/94 L 6.03 203 USA Under-18 NTDP (29)
29. Finn, Matthew, LD, 2/24/94 L 6.00.25 195 Guelph OHL (NR)
30. Thrower, Dalton, RD, 12/20/93 R 5.11.25 189 Saskatoon WHL (NR)
Falling out of the top-30: Marcantuoni, Matia (12), Schmaltz, Jordan (21), Laughton, Scott (25), and Samuelsson, Henrik (30)


Senators at the Twenty Game Mark

The Sens have reached the twenty game mark so here’s a look at how they’ve done over the past ten games (for the previous ten-game segment go here link).  Ottawa went 5-4-1, earning 11 points (virtually the same clip as the previous ten, 5-5-0).  They are (still) 3rd in the division, 8th in the conference (up from 9th), and 16th in the overall standings (up from 19th).  They are 3rd in goals for (up from 5th), 30th (still) in goals against, 3rd in powerplay percentage (down from 2nd), 24th on the penalty kill (up from 29th).  They are 26th in 5-on-5 goals for/against ratio (0.74), up from 30th; they remain 16th in the league in facoffs; they are 15th in shots allowed (up from 21st) and 16th in shots-for (down from 14th).

Here’s a quick snapshot of player’s stats over the last ten games, although with TOI and faceoffs I’ve simply indicated if the numbers have changed significantly (INJ=games missed due to injury, SCR=scratched):
Erik Karlsson 10-0-8-8 +4 TOI 25:11 (TOI up by 0:30)
Milan Michalek 10-6-1-7 -1 TOI 19:25 (TOI down by 0:28)
Nick Foligno 10-4-3-7 -4 TOI 15:26 (TOI down by 0:39)
Jason Spezza 10-1-5-6 Even TOI 19:33 FO% 56.6 (FO improved)
Sergei Gonchar 10-2-4-6 Even TOI 21:23 (TOI up by 1:52)
Zack Smith 10-2-4-6 +3 TOI 14:36 FO% 50.2 (TOI up by 1:15; FO declining)
Chris Neil 6-2-3-5 Even TOI 13:54 INJ 4
Bobby Butler 9-2-3-5 +3 TOI 11:18 SCR 1 (TOI up 1:31)
Filip Kuba
10-0-5-5 +6 TOI 22:42 (TOI up by 0:40)
Colin Greening
10-2-1-3 -2 TOI 17:02 (1702 TOI up by 0:23)
Jesse Winchester 10-1-2-3 +3 TOI 10:32 FO% 55.7 (TOI up by 3:15)
Stephane Da Costa 10-1-2-3 -4 TOI 12:31 FO% 36.6 (TOI up by 0:56; faceoffs down)
Kaspars Daugavins
9-2-1-3 -1 TOI 15:07 INJ 1
Erik Condra
10-1-1-2 +3 TOI 13:48 (TOI up by 0:59)
Chris Phillips 10-0-2-2 Even TOI 19:30 (TOI down by 0:54)
Daniel Alfredsson
5-1-0-1 -1 TOI 17:42 INJ 5 (TOI down by 0:49)
David Rundblad 5-0-1-1 -6 TOI 16:51 SCR 5
Jared Cowen 10-1-0-1 -1 TOI 16:22 (TOI down by 0:20)
Zenon Konopka 7-1-0-1 +3 TOI 7:09 FO% 58.7 SCR 3 (FO increasing)
Brian Lee
5-0-0-0 -1 TOI 16:08 SCR 5 (TOI down by 2:11)
Nikita Filatov
4-0-0-0 Even TOI 9:10 (TOI down by 4:22) (sent to Binghamton)
Peter Regin
INJ 10
Craig Anderson 9-4-5 3.25 .895 (pulled once) GAA and SV have improved
Robin Lehner 1-1-0 2.00 .920  (sent to Binghamton)
Alex Auld 0-0-0 4.23 .823 (pulled once) INJ 3 GAA improved, SV declined

A few things stand out: despite exploding offensively Nick Foligno is tied with Stephane Da Costa for the worst plus/minus among forwards (David Rundblad is on the bottom at -6); Filip Kuba leads the team in plus/minus; the team has shown no faith in Alex Auld, as he’s received no starts (his only appearance was in relief); Daniel Alfredsson has struggled to produce upon returning from his concussion; Kaspars Daugavins has played a ton since being recalled (he’s 6th among forwards in ice time).