Senators News: December 23rd

-The Sens lines via The Ottawa Sun (with Mike Hoffman getting the call-up and Brian Lee scratched): Colin Greening-Jason Spezza-Daniel Alfredsson, Nick Foligno-Kyle Turris-Erik Condra, Kaspars Daugavins-Zack Smith-Chris Neil, Mike Hoffman-Zenon Konopka-Bobby Butler; Jared Cowen-Erik Karlsson, Filip Kuba-Sergei Gonchar, Chris Phillips-Matt Carkner.

-Most of the media dispensed with discussing last night’s game to whinge over the call on Nick Foligno, but while I disagreed with the call I’m not up in arms about it.  My only complaint is the inconsistency from officials and the league, but that’s not going to change any time soon.

-Pierre McGuire (link) and others think Bobby Butler might have some of his mojo back after scoring, but given that nothing developed after his two-goal performance against Calgary I’m taking a wait-and-see attitude towards him.

The Ottawa Citizen‘s Wayne Scanlan wonders if the Sens are contenders or pretenders (link), with Bryan Murray saying, “We have to play game by game almost and see where we are. I watch our team now and I think we can compete with everybody. We haven’t been embarrassed except at the beginning of the year.”  Scanlan himself doesn’t answer the question, but I doubt the Sens will maintain a playoff position.

-A quick thought on the choice of recalling Mike Hoffman (32-7-10-17 -8): I’m not surprised that he was brought up instead of veteran Mark Parrish or Pat Cannone (neither impressed in pre-season), but Murray could have opted for a return of Stephane Da Costa or bringing in a grinder like David Dziurzynski.  My guess is that Paul MacLean remains impressed with Hoffman‘s skill level and wanted his versatility (he can play the wing whereas Da Costa cannot).  It will be interesting to see how much ice time he gets against Carolina.

Sports Illustrated‘s Stu Hackel reminisces on the classic and now vanished art of goal scoring by flying down the wing and firing a slapshot (link).  For those of us who remember hockey when goaltenders normally stood up this was one of the most common plays in hockey.  Hackel quotes Scotty Bowman about the change, “The D couldn’t get to the shooter like today. The game was more spread out, because the D had to back off more. Now, everybody can skate with everybody else. And the forwards backcheck much more. The speed of the game now just makes it so you can’t take that much time to get a shot off.”

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