Senators News: December 1st

-Ian Mendes Tweets (link) to remind us that tonight will be only the third time Brian Lee and David Rundblad have played in the same game, the last two times being 7-goal losses.  As amusing as this is, those were very early games in the season (4 and 6) and aren’t very indicative.

The Ottawa Sun‘s Don Brennan’s potpourri article (link) includes comments from Chris Phillips about the team, “Guys look comfortable playing with each other. You see some chemistry starting with (Kaspars) Daugavins, (Erik) Condra, (Zack) Smith. You get some character lines in there that are really starting to get their own identity as lines, and with partners. That’s stuff that does take time, and it’s starting to take shape for us now.  We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves. It’s a long season. You try not to ride the ups and downs, just stay consistent. It sounds boring, but we just take it day to day. We have to do that. We can’t dwell on losses and we can’t be wondering about what’s going to take place at the end of the season.”

-Brennan looks at the performance of Zack Smith (link), with Paul MacLean saying “I think in our last 10 games his line has probably been the most consistent line, from game to game to game. They’ve done a good job killing penalties and done a good job against the other team’s second- or first-best line. To their credit, they’ve kept the game simple and done what we’ve asked, and they’ve been rewarded.  I like the role he plays on our team right now. That’s enough for him to get used to, without putting any more added pressure on him to do something different, things he can’t do. We just want to make sure he becomes Zack Smith.”  Smith himself said “The playoffs (in Binghamton) were good for my confidence. Handling the puck … I got to play in some situations like the power play, with (Ryan) Potulny and (Ryan) Keller, and I think that’s a big part of my confidence this year. I think it’s had everything to do with it. (The B-Sens run) was the best possible thing that could have happened to a lot of us. But I think I’ll always be known as a defensive guy. That’s something I’ve kind of worked towards my whole career. Something that coaches have established since I was young.”

The Ottawa Citizen‘s Allen Panzeri looks at Ottawa’s win over Winnipeg (link), with Paul MacLean saying “It was a great credit to our team and our resiliency. We bent a bit — we bent a lot — but we didn’t break, and at the end of the night we found a way  to win the game, and that’s a great part of the learning curve for our team,  learning how to win on the road.”  Ottawa has come back in seven games thus far this season.

Senators Extra‘s Ken Warren (link) takes a look at the Senators numbers thus far this year: He references Ottawa’s surprising goal-scoring, poor defensive numbers (which he blames on Karlsson (-2), Gonchar (+2), and Rundblad (-6); presumably Cowen‘s -6 and Lee‘s -4 aren’t worth mentioning; he’s also very forgiving of Craig Anderson‘s lousy numbers), Ottawa’s 7-0-0 record when leading after two periods, their 4-7-0 record when trailing after the first period, and their PK to PP ratio (something I think less an issue of play and more about the vicissitudes of officials).

-ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside grade the NHL (link), giving Ottawa a C+ (8th in the East) saying “Hey, most people figured the Senators to be in the vicinity of “F” so kudos to Paul MacLean for keeping his team from sliding off the map after a dreadful start. Ottawa’s young defense is learning on the go, but the fact the Senators are hanging around the playoff picture at this stage of the season is a bonus. Trending: Neutral. Not sure the Sens can keep this up as the season moves along, especially with the worst goals-against average in the NHL, but so far so good.”

-Joy Lindsay Tweets Binghamton’s lines at practice (link): Cowick-Da Costa-Armstrong, Dziurzynski-Cannone-Petersson, Hoffman-Grant-Bartlett, Gratchev-Hamilton-Lessard; Borowiecki-Gryba, Wiercioch-Schira, Raymond-Godfrey.  Lehner will start tomorrow.

The Hockey News‘s Adam Proteau looks at the top-ten worst NHL cliche’s (link):
10. A two-goal lead is the hardest to protect
9. We didn’t play a full 60 minutes
8. That’s a goal-scorer’s goal
7. 110 percent
6. Dirty areas
5. We have to take it one game at a time
4. Obviously/Like I said
3. Moving/going forward
2. At the end of the day
1. It is what it is
His top-four don’t bother me much, but the list reminds me of how I have to endure pointless between period interviews with players–they never say anything, so what’s the point?