Senators News: November 20th

The Ottawa Sun‘s Bruce Garrioch thinks tonight’s game against Vancouver will be a litmus test for the Sens (link).  He quotes Paul MacLean, “Against the other teams in the league that are closer to us, we’ve played pretty well. This is an opportunity for us to measure ourselves against the Stanley Cup finalists from last year and see where we are. The last time we played the Stanley Cup champions it didn’t go very (well), so this is going to be another test for us. I think we’re going to be ready for it because (the Canucks are) a good team.”  Garrioch goes on to note Ottawa’s 3-3-1 record against team’s above them in the standings, which to me answers his question. Ottawa is a .500 team that runs hot and cold.  How they perform against Vancouver isn’t going to change that perception.

The Ottawa Citizen‘s Allen Panzeri writes about much the same thing (link), saying “What Murray likes even more is that the Senators are starting to be more  consistent. The wild swings have been levelled out, and players are paying  greater attention to what they’re supposed to be doing.”  It’s not a direct quote so I won’t pick on Murray too much, but I’m not sure I see the difference between going 1-5, 6-0 and then 0-5, 3-0.  If that isn’t a continuation of “wild swings” I don’t know what is.

-Rob Brodie, writing for the Sens website, also looks at how the team is trending (link), but uses a better quote from Paul MacLean, “If we can find consistent play with our team and our work ethic continues to grow, and our attention to detail on how we want to play continues to grow, who knows where it’s going to go? We’re not predicting we’re going to be doing anything or playing anywhere. We’re just going to go out and take it game by game and when it’s all said and done, we’re going to be where we’re going to be.”

The Ottawa Citizen‘s Ken Warren’s article isn’t worth reading (link), but is worth correcting: he says Andre Petersson had shoulder problems last year–it’s his back Ken, his back; he thinks Jakob Silfverberg leads Brynas in scoring (he does not).  In another article Warren can’t help but snipe at Nikita Filatov (comparing him to Mark Stone), but the meaningless comparison is not worth getting into.

The Ottawa Sun‘s Jason York writes about Nikita Filatov (link), appropriately after the story has died.  I’ve listened to York’s opinion on Filatov evolve over the past week, but he still can’t quite understand the reasoning that’s so obvious to teammates (Daniel Alfredsson) and management (Bryan Murray).  The argument itself is nothing new, but I thought I’d look at the comparisons York has made to Filatov‘s situation (York doesn’t realise that an accurate comparison would be to another highly drafted Russian on a rebuilding team–there are none below):
Ryan Getzlaf (borrowed from Garrioch’s story two days ago, my thoughts are here link)
Bobby Ryan (2nd overall in 2005, he played 48 games in Portland before making the defending Stanley Cup champion lineup)
Jason Spezza (2nd overall in 2001, excluding the lockout he played 43 games in Binghamton before permanently making the 2003 Ottawa lineup that came one game short of the Cup final)
Zdeno Chara (3-56/96, played parts of two seasons (48 and 23 games) in the AHL)
Shea Weber (2-49/03, played 46 games in Milwaukee before joined the 05-06 Predators)
Martin St. Louis (Undrafted; in Calgary organisation 1997-2000)
Tim Thomas (9-217/94, unsigned by Quebec/Colorado)
Danny Briere (1-24/96, spent the bulk of the 97-98 and 99-00 in the AHL, along with half of 00-01)
There are all sorts of problems with these comparisons, but briefly: both Ryan and Spezza were trying to make Stanley Cup rosters filled with veterans (and they still only played half the year in the minors).  Chara was not a high draft pick so there were no expectations of him bursting into the lineup (and yet he never played a full season in the minors).  Weber beat the odds in Nashville by not spending a full year in the minors.  St. Louis wasn’t drafted and along with Briere played in an era when small players didn’t play–both were added to veteran laden teams and had no option other than waiting their turn.  Finally, Thomas was a goaltender with no pedigree at all.  To summate: none of them are Russian, only half are first round picks, and none of the high draft picks were on rebuilding teams.

SenShot‘s Jared Crozier takes a look at the Sens after 20 games (link) where he illustrates how the Sens have cut down their goals against and improved their penalty killing while their powerplay declines.  He cites Kaspars Daugavins as his biggest surprise and Jason Spezza as his biggest disappointment–I don’t agree with either.  Spezza‘s play hasn’t changed; he’s just not seeing the same results.  Daugavins continues to improve, but the only surprise is how much trust he has from the coaches (presumably in part because assistant Dave Cameron had him in the OHL).

-Binghamton assigned Maxime Gratchev and Brian Stewart back to Elmira and both participated in Elmira’s 3-1 win over Kalamazoo (Stewart earned the win, while Caporusso had an assist and Downing a goal).