Senators News: January 26th

-There are many all-star stories, but as the event means nothing to me I won’t bother summarizing

Andre Petersson and Mark Borowiecki were returned to Binghamton

Don Brennan thinks Ottawa’s problems with officiating go back to the days of Bryan Murray as coach, writing “Murray had tantrums of all-star proportions. Some were to get his team going. He’ll admit that now. And some were because he was genuinely mad at the ref.”  I’d like to think Brennan isn’t serious, but to look at the issue itself I think the explanation is pretty simple.  In terms of the overall season officials have long given preferential treatment to veteran players and Ottawa is a young team.  The particular events of the last few games are a reaction to Paul MacLean speaking publically–no doubt officials believe their conversations with coaches should remain private and were ticked off with what was reported (particularly given how absurd the comment was).

Sports Illustrated‘s power rankings have Ottawa 13th

Joy Lindsay assesses Robin Lehner at the mid-season point.  Goaltending coach Rick Wamsley said, “I thought he got off to a decent start at the start of the year. We didn’t score a lot of goals for him, the way the games went. Lately here, his game hasn’t been where it needs to be or where we want it to be. It’s a good challenge for a young professional, when things aren’t going well, to just kind of get your nose back to the grindstone, get back to fundamentals, limit your game in terms of how much you’re trying to do, just do the basics and grow out from there.” And “He’s not the only guy on this team who played in the playoffs last year that’s struggled a little bit. But that’s all part of growing up, that’s part of developing, for me, is going through adversity.”  Kurt Kleinendorst said, “If there has been a falloff in Robin‘s game, he’s 20 years old. He’s very young. I don’t think that it’s a major issue, other than just a young player learning and growing. But I will tell you that I have seen a lot of growth in Robin as a person. I’ve seen him become a better teammate, a better team player. I’ve seen a lot of things I like in how he’s coming along.”  Lehner himself said, “It’s been, gone both good and bad, I think. The positive note is that I’m getting better. I feel better now than I felt last year in practice and certain spots of the game. I think that outside of the ice, there’s been lots of progress, too. Still, there’s been a lot of games that I’ve been showing a lot of really good things. The negative note is this year has been hurting, it’s been hurting all of the statistics and all that stuff. But, you know, my talk with all the coach and all that stuff, we can’t really think about all that stuff. It’s … we’re last. We’re last in the league, I think. We’ve been struggling this year, and it’s not really easy for any of us. And I think that’s been reflected in all of our statistics, everyone on the team. So, yeah, that’s … I can’t look at numbers too much, either. We average, I think Mike (McKenna) and I average, about 37 shots (against) a game. I think it’s not just shots, it feels like it’s a lot of chances. It’s not an easy game for us. But you know, lots of credit to ourselves, and the guys, too. We’re fighting through it. We’re trying every game and stuff like that. It’s going in the right direction.”

Joy provides the lines at practice: Rob Klinkhammer-Corey Locke-Jack Downing, Mike Hoffman-Stéphane Da Costa-Jim O’Brien, David Dziurzynski-Pat Cannone-Mike Bartlett, Corey Cowick-Wacey Hamilton-Derek Grant (Francis Lessard); Dan Henningson-Eric Gryba, Patrick Wiercioch-Craig Schira, Bobby Raymond-Josh Godfrey (Andy Thomas).