Senators News: January 4th

Chris Phillips is out with a concussion (link), leaving the Senators blueline very thin only weeks after it was full enough to move David Rundblad.

-There’s chatter about re-signing Erik Karlsson, but as engaging as it is the discussion is moot as it’s inconceivable the Sens won’t re-sign him.

The Ottawa Citizen‘s Wayne Scanlan wonders if Karlsson could get Norris consideration (link) and the simple answer is no.  The NHL almost never rewards blueliners who are considered one-dimensional.

-TSN, THN, and Sports Illustrated‘s power rankings are up (link, link, and link) with Ottawa 17th, 14th, and 16th.  SI’s Adrian Dater says “This has become one of my favorite teams, just for the purely random good record the Sens have posted. They were awful the first week of the season, but hats off to new coach Paul McLean for rounding these guys into a competitive bunch. The Sens were a lottery team last year, but here they are right in the playoff mix.”  The Sens record was awful the first week, but that shouldn’t be the basis for analysis.

Robin Lehner was suspended for three games, which is considered a very light sentence for abuse of officials (clearly the AHL thought the linesman should have been better occupied).

-Joy Lindsay reports (link) that if Andre Petersson plays tonight Maxime Gratchev will be scratched, with Kurt Kleinendorst saying, “I think Wacey (Hamilton) did a nice job when we used him up there. I put (Max) Gratchev up there, and Max did a nice job. And I think Corey Cowick took a couple shifts up there. But as much as I appreciate them … you need a special player in that spot, and I think Petey‘s that guy.”  Brian Stewart has been recalled due to Lehner‘s suspension.

-I watched both WJC semi-final games, where Finland’s decision to sit back and try to defend a 2-0 lead wound up costing them and Canada’s goaltenders inability to make a save ultimately prevented an incredible comeback against the Russians.  I was surprised by the Russians, whom the Czech’s badly outplayed in the quarters.  The one thing Canada did not do that worked for the Czech’s was establish a forecheck and I don’t think we’ll see much of that from either the Swedes or the Russians in the gold medal game.