Senators News: February 4th

Ian Mendes Tweets that no lineup changes are expected for the Sens, which if correct means Bobby Butler will sit again for Jim O’Brien

-One of the issues the Sens have been having during their losing streak is an inability to handle speed by their defensemen.  The older players, particularly Matt Carkner, just don’t move well enough.  I doubt the Sens will do anything to change that this season, but it will be interesting to see what the organisation does in the off-season (in Carkner‘s case, with the death of the heavy weight in the league, you’d have to think this year is his swan song).

Zack Smith summed up the Sens problems last night, “I don’t think we executed the way we wanted. We tried being a little too cute at times. We didn’t get pucks to the net and didn’t challenge their ‘D’ enough entering the zone.”

-The lack of intensity by the Sens last night followed a hard practice from MacLean, which if nothing else illustrates how meaningless that approach is with this team.

The Hockey News‘ Ken Campbell writes about Bryan Murray’s pre-deadline conundrum, “Murray is a GM who is more betwixt and between than perhaps any other. That’s kind of a good thing, considering the Senators were viewed by almost everyone as bottom feeders in the Eastern Conference this season, and here we are with roughly two months to go and the Senators are sixth in the conference. On one hand, they’ve played more games than everyone else and those games will be made up at some point. But on the other, teams such as the Washington Capitals, Winnipeg Jets and Tampa Bay Lightning have spent the season throwing away their chances of making the playoffs. So what’s Murray to do? Does he go out and make a trade for an impact player such as impending unrestricted free agent Tuomo Ruutu of the Carolina Hurricanes or does he stick to the rebuild philosophy and hope that’s enough to get his team into the playoffs this season? If they do make it, are the Senators a team that could make a little noise and go on a run or are they first-round road kill?  Murray has made it clear, however, that top prospects such as Mika Zibanejad, Mark Stone, Matt Puempel and Jakob Silfverberg are off limits. ‘We have one or two young guys in our system that we might be willing to trade,’ he said. ‘But there is no way we’re going to be trading that kind of asset.’ What is certain is the Senators appear to be on the right path for a long-term rebuild regardless of whether they end up on the north or south side of the Eastern Conference this season. They have served notice that they are much better than everyone thought they would be and that their route back to contender status is going to be much less circuitous than first projected. And Murray knows it doesn’t make a lot of sense to mess with that.

Hockey’s Future‘s D. J. Powers’ College Notebook includes this about Ottawa prospect Max McCormick, “It was a January to remember for Ohio State freshman Max McCormick, after posting seven points (five goals, two assists) in eight games during the month. The highlight was his first career hat trick on January 28th versus Lake Superior State. McCormick had a good start to his rookie campaign before suffering an injury that forced him to miss eight games in late October/early November. To date, McCormick has appeared in 19 games, posting 14 points (seven goals, seven assists).