Senators News: December 11th

Senators Extra‘s James Gordon writes about last night’s game (link) and includes a quote from Paul MacLean that I think is worth repeating, “We gave up three 2-on-1′s in the first period, which isn’t’ great. But that’s not always the defenceman’s fault. We didn’t have forwards in responsible positions to help them out (when they’re pinching inside the blueline). They have to help the defence, too.”  Two of those plays resulted in goals (one involving David Rundblad where Chris Neil covered for him, but got deked and Vancouver scored; the other was Jason Spezza giving up on the backcheck which allowed Ryan Kesler to score).

-There’s a lot of ink being spilt over Nick Foligno‘s hits on Cody Hodgson and Ryan Kesler, but I didn’t have a problem with either.  Chris Neil did throw a deliberate head-shot at Alex Burrows, but with no penalty on the play I’m not sure anything will come of it.

Postmedia writes that Peter Regin credits assistant coach Luke Richardson with his surprising return last night (link), “It was mostly Luke, to be honest. They’ve been on  the road so much. At least our assistant coach is in great shape. He has been doing it all with me and skating the same as me. I have to thank him for all the hard work he has put into this.  I’ve been looking forward to this day for a while. You have a lot of time to refocus and think about all the mental stuff and I’ve had so much time that I don’t think it’s going to be a problem mentally.”

SenShot‘s Kevin Lee wonders if Erik Karlsson is being overplayed (link).  Lee worries that he’s going to go down the road of John Paddock’s Ottawa Senators where he played Spezza, Alfredsson, and Heatley too much early in the season.  Lee thinks he’s seen a change in his game recently, “We don’t see as much of the explosive speed through the neutral zone that we had seen earlier in the year.”  It’s an interesting diagnosis I disagree with.  There are two factors effecting Karlsson‘s play (which I don’t think has changed): 1) he’s been among the leaders in scoring all season so team’s make a point of focussing on him, 2) Filip Kuba and Sergei Gonchar are out of the lineup, so the focus on him is even more acute.  As long as the two veterans are out of the lineup, or until David Rundblad‘s starts to put up points consistently, this will remain the situation.


Ottawa 1, Vancouver 4; Binghamton 2, Norfolk 5

The Senators lost their third game in a row and didn’t look very good in the process.  They started with a physical tone that faded as the game wound on (likely a reaction to the officiating–it was not a great night for Marcus Vinnerborg and Kevin Pollock).  Despite a lack of results Chris Neil and Bobby Butler were still on the powerplay while the first unit spent much of a 5-on-3 passing the puck around on the outside (a simplified powerplay was where they found success earlier in the season).  For the box score go here link.  A look at the goals:
1. Vancouver, Edler (pp)
Phillips screens Anderson who over commits the wrong way
2. Vancouver, Kesler
A 2-on-1 where Spezza gives up on the backcheck allowing Kesler to score easily
3. Vancouver, Kesler (pp)
Smith misses the puck boucing off the backboards and Phillips can’t control Kesler in front who bangs it in
4. Greening (Spezza, Lee)
Luongo over commits to the deke and leaves Greening with a wide open net
5. Vancouver, Weise (sh)
Dekes Neil and then Anderson

Jared Cowen – he wasn’t spectacular, but played a safe, steady game
Daniel Alfredsson – he didn’t pick up a point, but he was strong on the puck and played hard at both ends

Players who struggled
Chris Phillips – was the key figure for two goals against
Jason Spezza – needs to simplify his game, but the main reason he’s here is because is he skaes hard for a few more strides the second Vancouver goal doesn’t happen
Craig Anderson – tonight wasn’t all his fault, but he isn’t paid to be average
Milan Michalek – no shots, no scoring chances, and a minus player

The Binghamton Senators lost their third game in a row (out shot 42-17), with the depleted lineup getting goals from Rob Klinkhammer and Mike Hoffman (Mike McKenna took the loss).  Craig Schira lead the team at -3.  I did not see the game so I’m reliant on reports on it–for the box score go here link and for Joy Lindsay’s summary go here link.

Elmira won last night, with Brian Stewart getting the win and Louie Caporusso adding a goal.