Ottawa 3, Boston 4

As much as some fans will want to blame the officials for tonight’s result (and it’s true Rob Martell, Dan O’Rourke and the linesmen put their whistles away), it was two bad goals given up by Craig Anderson and a dumb penalty taken by Nick Foligno that sealed the deal.  The Sens played well offensively, but got caught running around in their own zone at times.  Here is the box score.  A look at the goals:
1. Boston, Chara (pp)
Fires the puck home on a Lucic screen
2. Greening (Michalek, Spezza)
A great tip by Greening
3. Turris (Alfredsson)
A laser shot off a nice pass from Alfredsson
4. Karlsson (Neil, Kuba)
Karlsson keeps on a 2-on-1 and makes no mistake
5. Boston, Lucic
A bad line change leaves Lucic wide open in the slot
6. Boston, Marchand (pp)
Anderson inexplicably baubles the puck which is banged in by Marchand
7. Boston, Seidenberg
Beats Anderson from center ice (Anderson actually knocks it into his own net)

Top-performers (most of the forwards could appear here):
Daniel Alfredsson – clearly feeling great after the all-star game; tied for the team lead in scoring chances
Colin Greening – was strong in all three zones
Jared Cowen – despite a last-second miscue when the team was trying to tie the game he was a monster defensively

Players Who Struggled:
Matt Carkner – too many turnovers in his own zone
Erik Karlsson – lead the team in turnovers
Craig Anderson – made many incredible saves, but two bad goals sours the night

Senators News: January 31st

Craig Anderson will start against the Bruins tonight; Brian Lee is still out with a lower body injury

Don Brennan reports that Peter Regin underwent successful shoulder surgery.  It will be interesting to see if the Sens retain his rights or allow him to become a free agent.

Jesse Winchester has returned to practice after suffering a concussion December 20th

Dmitry Chesnokov Tweets that Nikita Filatov has been demoted by CSKA Moscow to their MHL affiliate (the Russian junior league).  CSKA is a deep team and I have to think there’s not much point in Filatov playing third or fourth line minutes there, but it’s still a disappointment.  I wonder if he’s suffered after effects from the two head shots he took in the AHL (the biggest was by Tim Sestito October 29th).

Stu Hackel of Sports Illustrated has a look at both the rise of concussions across the league and the how the NHL handles injury statistics.  Gary Bettman reported that concussions were up 10% from last year, whereas blogger Dustin Fink (link) says they are up 60%, “‘Last year at this time there were 54 concussions reported/found in the NHL….The current total sits at 90,” Fink writes. ‘Last year the entire regular season produced 98, and including the playoffs, 114.’ The figures may vary substantially, but both Bettman and Fink agree that the increase, whatever it may be, has to do in part with both better awareness and the players taking the situation more seriously than in the past.”  Regardless of which number is more accurate, it’s an indication that the NHL’s efforts to reduce the number of head injuries has failed dramatically.  In terms of overall injuries, Hackel points out the strange way the NHL reports injuries, “the NHL leaves that to the clubs. One of the most interesting stats the league itself does not formally track is Man Games Lost to Injury. It is not a readily available figure to the general public,  clubs compile and publish their own in game notes that are distributed to the media by their public relations departments prior to each contest. It would be good info for fans to have, if only to gauge which clubs are banged up and which have relatively good health.”  I’ve heard arguments that team’s should be allowed to disguise player injuries to avoid being targeted, but given that the NFL is explicit with their injuries I don’t think that argument holds water.  Hackel lists the man-games lost per team (Ottawa has lost 144, making them the 12th healthiest team in the league–Boston is first, Pittsburgh last), pointing out that there’s no correlation between travel and injuries and that bigger teams seem to suffer less (given that his sample size is the first half of this season means one has to take these numbers with a grain of salt).  All in all it’s interesting food for thought and the entire article is worth reading.