Senators News: December 2nd

The Ottawa Sun‘s Don Brennan writes about last night’s game (link), with Paul MacLean saying “The first 55 minutes, I thought we played real well. Unfortunately in the last five minutes we got defensive and couldn’t get out of our end when we had opportunities.  When you have the lead in this league, you have to continue to play hard. You have to make sure you stay committed. I think it’s part of the learning process for us, of how to win games on the road.  You can’t take things for granted that things are going to happen. You have to go on the ice and dictate the way the game is played. Make sure you’re strong on pucks and you’re strong at your net. We weren’t those things in the last five minutes.”

The Ottawa Sun‘s Aedan Helmer writes a brief update about two Sens prospects (link) via Pierre Dorion: Mika ZibanejadI think the initial shock of being in the NHL one day and then the next day you’re on a plane back to Sweden, there was definitely some disappointment there. He admitted to us he was tired, but we’ve had scouts at three or four games this year and he was one of the best players on the ice.”  Jakob SilfverbergIt’s a league where they try to make the perfect play. When someone produces, that just shows you (Silfverberg) has that offensive upside we’re looking for. But Jakob’s game is a complete game, he plays the penalty kill, plays defensively and plays well in tight areas.”

The Ottawa Citizen‘s Wayne Scanlan writes about the changes that have happened in Anaheim and Ottawa since they met in the 2007 Cup final (link), within which Scanlan makes a couple of arguments I disagree with.  He writes “the Ducks may now also be en route to a rebuild based on their current 14th  place standing in the Western Conference and a salary budget that has its  limitations. Toss in the future retirement of Selanne, likely next spring, and  pending free agents in Saku Koivu and Jason Blake and the Ducks could be reloading with the help of a lottery pick.”  The Ducks have a very good roster even now (which is why many experts picked them to be in the playoffs this year), they are simply underperforming.  The retirements he cites are important, but (other than Selanne) those are the kind of pieces that can be replaced.  The second point I disagree with is “Bob Murray might want to look in the mirror, because it was his trade of Lupul and Gardiner for Beauchemin that badly hurt the Ducks while boosting Toronto into a playoff contender.”  I think Murray overpaid, but I don’t think the trade came anywhere near gutting the team.  Lupul has never had a season like this before (his previous best was 2004-05), while with Cam Fowler in the fold Gardiner became expendable.

The Silver Seven‘s Adnan takes a look at Milan Michalek‘s hot start and compares it to his start in 2009-10 (link), with the stats being incredibly similar:
2009-2010: 25 Games, 15 goals, 5 assists, 74 shots, 20.27% shooting
2011-2012: 25 games, 15 goals, 6 assists, 74 shots, 20.27% shooting
In the first 25 games of 2009-2010, Michalek had three multi-goal games and scored in 11 of the 25 games. In 2011-2012, Michalek has had four multi-goal games and scored in 11 of the 25 games.”  But Adnan doesn’t believe he’ll completely fall off the map as he did two years ago, “If he falls back to his career shooting percentage for the rest of the season, but continues to get the same number of shots, Michalek will score 35 goals over 82 games this season.”

-Joy Lindsay has posted the probable lineup for tonight (link), with Mark Parrish a game-time decision: Corey Cowick-Stephane Da Costa-Mark Parrish/Riley Armstrong, David Dziurzynski-Pat Cannone-Andre Petersson, Mike Hoffman-Derek Grant-Mike Bartlett, Gratchev-Wacey Hamilton-Francis Lessard; Mark Borowiecki-Eric Gryba, Wiercioch-Matt Carkner, Bobby Raymond-Craig Schira.

-Joy Lindsay posted various quotes (link) with Robin Lehner talking about his game of late “I’ve been in a little bit of a slump. I think I’ve been putting my efforts out there. I think this year in total I’ve been playing pretty good. I had the off game in Ottawa there, but since then, I think we’ve been playing good, the whole team. I think my efforts, too, have been good overall. But I think the bounces and stuff are not there right now, and I think the momentum is not really there. But it’s up to us to try and change it, and I’m looking for turning around my losing streak, too. Obviously, it’s hard mentally, but we kind of look at reality and see, if you play pretty good, it’s going to turn around.”  Stephane Da Costa talked about what he needs to work on, “I think defensively, I’ve got to work on. I’ve got to work on my speed. I don’t know, I’ve got a lot to work on, because I’m still young. …I’m a center, and my game is to have the puck a lot, so when I have the puck, I feel confident. So I think confidence is going to be a big part.” And “I feel good. Young guys, so I like being here. I know most of the guys from training camp, and I know most of them, all of them, so it’s going to be good.  I think, like I talked to (Senators General Manager) Bryan (Murray), I struggled with confidence. For the first five, six games, I had confidence, then maybe I couldn’t score, or I got scored on, and my confidence went down a little bit. It’s hard to get it back up when you’re in the NHL because it’s a big league, and it’s the best league in the world, so it’s tough.  I mean, obviously. It’s a big jump from college to second-line center in the NHL, so I had some pressure, and had the pressure to do well every game. That maybe killed my game a little bit.”

Hockey Futures‘ Tony Piscotta looks at Calder candidates (link), with Colin Greening ranked 9th (“Still technically a rookie despite appearing in 24 games with Ottawa in 2009-10, [he] enters the poll in the ninth spot due primarily to his two-way play and the fact that he is skating on the top line for the Senators. After opening the season with eight points in twelve games, his offensive numbers decreased in November – he scored two goals in 12 games. However, during that stretch the Senators gained points in seven of 12 games, with Greening averaging over 16 minutes of ice time per game. Like Couturier, Greening‘s value is in his two-way play, particularly along the walls and in tight spaces. While his offensive game is limited, he should have more scoring opportunities as he continues to play alongside Ottawa’s leading scorer Jason Spezza“).

-The Columbus Blue Jackets continue their sterling record with top draft picks, as Derick Brassard‘s agent fired shots at coach Scott Arniel (link).  Speaking of top Columbus picks, Nikita Filatov had some chances last night, but needs to show a bit more on the back check.


Ottawa 2, Dallas 3

The Senators lost in the closing minutes tonight in a game they deserved to lose.  Despite a good opening period the Sens were dominated in the second and continued to give up grade A scoring chances in the third.  For the box score go here link.  It was not a great night for the officials (Greg Kimmerly and Dennis LaRue), but the Sens were in position to win despite that and the way they played.  A look at the goals:
1. Condra (Cowen)
Cowen creates the turnover and Condra beats Raycroft short side
2. Dallas, Ott (pp)
Phillips gets another own-goal as he deflects the point shot in
3. Michalek (Alfredsson, Foligno)
Bats down a big rebound from Raycroft and scores short side
4. Dallas, Dvorak
Rundblad leaves the front of the net to double up Ribeiro and no one covers, leaving Dvorak open for a deflection
5. Dallas, Nystrom
either own-goals it or screens Anderson on a simple shot from a bad angle

Jared Cowen – was +2, picked up an assist, and was strong defensively
David Rundblad – made a mistake on the second goal, but otherwise was strong in all zones
Craig Anderson – would like the winning goal back, but made a number of great saves to keep the team in the game

Players who struggled:
Chris Phillips – while he wound up even in plus/minus he was directly responsible for two goals against
Jason Spezza – too many poor decisions in the offensive zone