Senators News: December 7th

-There are no lineup changes reported for tonight’s game

Filip Kuba is going to be out 3-4 with his shoulder injury, meaning the Sens earn themselves a reprieve from an overcrowded blueline when Matt Carkner returns tomorrow

The Ottawa Sun‘s Don Brennan looks at the keys to Ottawa’s success are so far this year (link), with Zack Smith talking about leadership, “On the ice and in the room. We have a young team, so that’s a big part of it. We have some older, veteran players who have been around for a while, and it’s nice to have cool heads within the group. They help out a lot with that.”  Paul MacLean talks about the 200-foot game and skating, “What we’ve tried to establish is a work ethic for 60 or 65 minutes, depending on how long the games are. I think that belief that we can skate for 60 minutes has been a very positive thing for us. The results obviously build confidence. And I think it’s becoming part of our identity as a team, that we play for 60 minutes or 65 minutes, and we play hard. I know it’s a priority for me, that our team is able to skate.”

-Brennan also writes about the upcoming return of Peter Regin (link), who skated in practice yesterday and is looking forward to returning to contact drills.  The hope is that this is the end of his shoulder problems, but Regin remains a realist,  “You never know. That’s why we were taking such a long time, to make sure we gave it the best chance.”

Senators Extra’s Ken Warren writes about the Binghamton line of DaugavinsSmithCondra (link), which doesn’t contain much new although it has a good quote from Daugavins, “This is my opportunity, right, so I have to play shift by shift and obviously, you’re a little nervous at the start and you don’t want to screw up your chance and you go 100 miles per hour per shift.”

-Rob Brodie, writing for the Sens website, looks at the pairing of Karlsson and Cowen (link), with Paul MacLean saying about the latter, “He’s a high, high draft pick, so I knew he was going to be a good player. Ever since he came here, he’s made the most of his opportunities and progressed a lot. He’s doing the things a young guy coming into the league should do and he’ll keep improving.”

David Rundblad writes that Chris Phillips was very helpful to him early in the season giving him tips on his game (link)

-Warren also talked to Zenon Konopka about the brain study on Derek Boogaard (link).  Konopka had an interesting and thoughtful response, “I’m sure (brain damage) has happened to a lot of people that have passed on and something that can happen to people that haven’t taken hits to the head. We haven’t done enough science on it. Look at NFL football. There are over 40 concussions a week in NFL football and you don’t really hear about that. I think there’s more cause for concern there than in our sport. Is our sport perfect? Absolutely not. Should we try to improve our sport? Absolutely. But you also have to take everything with a grain of salt, too. What people have to remember too is that there are guys in the minors that are doing this. I did this in the minors for $350 (a week) in the East Coast Hockey League, so it’s not just the National Hockey League dealing with fighting and taking hits to the head. It’s something where we will work with science to help the problem.”  As interesting as this is, I’m not sure how much science you need to realise getting hit in the head repeatedly is not good for the brain.

Sports Illustrated‘s power rankings are out (link), with Ottawa 18th (Adrian Dater writes “The fact that they’re in a playoff spot today is one of the season’s minor miracles“)

-Binghamton lineups this morning (link): Klinkhammer-Da Costa-Petersson, Hoffman-Armstrong-Grant, Gratchev-Cannone-Bartlett, Cowick-Hamilton-Lessard; Borowiecki-Carkner, Wiercioch-Schira, Raymond-Godfrey (Gryba is expected to play).

-Joy Lindsay confirmed that David Dziurzynski has a concussion, while Mark Parrish and Tim Conboy are expected to miss another week; Jim O’Brien is weeks away, while Corey Locke is trying to rebuild the strength in his hand and hopes to be back before Christmas (link).

-Joy writes about the addition of Rob Klinkhammer (link), with assistant coach Steve Stirling (who coached him previously) saying, “When they ask my opinion, which sometimes they do, I certainly appreciate that — especially guys that I’ve coached. He’s just a quality person. For me, that’s the most important quality of any hockey player. He’s just a really good person. I knew that, because I had him his rookie year. And he didn’t play much for me. He was fourth line, just one of those kids that was happy to be there. But as he played, he got better and better and better. We started using him killing penalties that year because he proved he could do it. I knew the character was good. He can skate like the wind. He’s 6-foot-3, 205-pounds, and can skate. I can’t teach that. That’s a quality that is awfully good, because the game is about speed. And he’s not afraid to work. Now, he’s not the most physical, but he’s physical. He will finish his checks, he will close his gaps, so he can forecheck, he can backcheck. And what I liked about him — and, again, I didn’t see it coming, because he was fourth line for me all year and every once in a while, short-term, would go third line and did fine that way — I had him a year, and then I followed his career. After that, he went to Rockford. He had 12 (goals) for me, had 15 the next year, probably played third line on a regular basis. And the next year, again. And that might have been his first NHL contract, because with me, he was on an AHL contract. And then, all of a sudden, he gets an NHL call-up last year, he goes and gets 17 goals and 29 assists, so he’s really matured as a player to certainly more than what I saw, just based on his numbers. This is not a third-line player anymore. It’s a great third-line player who can probably play on a second line. And I think that’s what you’ll see. So it was easy for me.”

-In the same article Joy quotes Kurt Kleinendorst about Andre Petersson, “I think Andre has made as much progress as any player we have down here, in regards to everything — the way he plays with the puck … he’s really turning into a complete player, and I think where he’s probably made the most progress is his play without the puck.

Here are some more articles on NHL realignment:
Post Media‘s Bruce Arthur (link) points out potential problems (“Florida is now an orphaned state, hockey’s big toe“), but like nearly everyone else likes the change.  He illustrates one of the major benefits, “However, there is a bigger picture here, as there has to be. If you look at this  plan, you see a league in which it would now be quite easy to move a franchise  here or a franchise there. Got a seven-team division? Make it eight. In an  eight-team division? Well, now it’s seven.”
-Puck Daddy (Greg Wyshynski, link) see’s the winners as Gary Bettman, Detroit, Columbus, Dallas, Washington, traditional rivalries (he means the post-WHA divisional rivalries), regular-season television, and expansion.  The losers are Canadian teams (six of seven in two conferences), Florida teams, Carolina, Phoenix, Columbus (yes, they were winners and losers), playoff-TV in the States (repetitive match-ups, greater chance of all-Canadian match-ups, and losing potential Original Six teams in the Pacific time zone), good teams in tough conferences suffering, non-traditional rivalries, NHLPA, and Cinderella teams (no more 1 versus 8 upsets).
The Silver Seven‘s Adnan makes a sensible list of pros and cons (link)
Pros: divisional playoffs; more possibilities for Stanley Cup final (anyone outside your own conference); fans see every team; time zones (no team is more than one hour away in time difference from any of their conference opponents)
Cons: playoffs could get repetitive; unfair to eight team conferences; play former conference opponents less; Canadian teams clustered (six of the seven Canadian teams in two conferences); Florida teams in northeast conference

For my part, I think realignment is a mixed bag–I remember the old divisional rivalries very well and it was mostly frustrating to watch the same match-ups (typically with the same results) over and over again.  Geographically aligning teams makes all kinds of sense and I believe the current arrangement is a prelude to relocation (Phoenix for sure–Quebec must have a quid pro quo agreement with Bettman to get public money for their arena–but other teams moving seems likely).  I anticipate fans will enjoy the change for the first 5-6 years before there’s a clammering for a return to the 1 versus 8 arrangement.


1 Comment

  1. […] immediate realignment, which is something I have mixed feelings about (thoughts are here and here) 3 – add a play-in round of the playoffs, which I like 4 – bring back the World Cup of […]

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