Senators News: February 18th; Binghamton 1, Wilkes-Barre 6

Matt Carkner talks about wanting to be re-signed by the Sens, “I’d love to be back here next year. But again, those are things that aren’t in my hands. All I can do is worry about myself, worry about playing, and right now it’s practising. I’m practising hard and obviously you never know what happens during the year. I’ve always worked hard to get back on the ice and that’s all I have to do.”  There’s a lot to like about Carkner‘s work ethic and his appeal as a “glue” guy, but I have to think his future with Ottawa has declined along with the disappearance of NHL heavy weights.

Don Brennan writes about Jim O’Brien through Paul MacLean’s eyes, “MacLean says O’Brien has taken his game to another level since he first saw him in training camp, when the former first-rounder struggled with taking direction and paying attention to detail. Where does MacLean see O’Brien settling in? ‘Down the road right now is where he is right now,’ said MacLean. ‘That’s where I would say at this point he’s going to stay, in that third-, fourth-line centre spot, killing penalties. He’s a right-handed centre, he can help us out. He brings a great work ethic to the game and he can get around the game. His mobility is fine and he defends real well. He can provide some offence. We’re not expecting huge numbers from him. Just a player you can put on the ice and you know you’re going to have a good shift.'”  This is a great compliment from MacLean and bad news for the futures of Zenon Konopka and Jesse Winchester.

Brennan also writes about Guy Ouellette, the Sens “tactical aggressions specialist” who helps players learn how to protect themselves on the ice and become better fighters.  Ouellette was in Binghamton this week as well.

Wayne Scanlan writes about the long-term drop in the number of powerplays since the lockout and worries the NHL is sliding back into the clutch-and-grab insanity of the pre-lockout world.  Although it isn’t mentioned, this drop is directly related with the drop in goal-scoring over the same period.  As a fan what drives me insane is the inconsistency of the officiating, but I don’t expect the NHL to correct that any time soon.

-Binghamton got hammered last night, with Robin Lehner taking the loss.  Corey Locke had the only goal, while Josh Godfrey, Wacey Hamilton, and Mike Bartlett lead the way at -3.  Here is the box score and Joy Lindsay‘s game summary.

Joy Tweets that no changes are expected to the B-Sens lineup tonight.

-Elmira lost last night, with Corey Cowick held off the score sheet (neither Brian Stewart nor Louie Caporusso played).

Hockey’s Future‘s DJ Powers lists prospect Ben Blood as tied for 10th among the top-ranked NCAA blueliners, writing “Blood is having the best year of his collegiate career right now, but a recent incident versus the University of Minnesota on January 14th has somewhat tainted that. The result was Blood being stripped of his assistant captaincy (He did issue an apology for his actions). Nevertheless, Blood is a player with excellent potential for success at the pro level. The Plymouth, MN native has played in all 29 games thus far, posting 14 points (two goals, 12 assists). His 14 points tie a career-best, which was set in his sophomore year two seasons ago. Despite the Minnesota incident, Blood has been a strong leader on North Dakota’s predominantly young blue line this season. One area that has developed quite nicely during Blood‘s collegiate career is his offensive side. He has shown to be an adept puck-handler that can help run the power play as well as set up and finish plays. While it is unlikely that he’ll post big numbers at the next level, Blood has the ability to be a solid offensive contributor from the blue line. Blood was offered a contract by Ottawa at the end of last season, but opted to return to North Dakota to finish out his collegiate career. Barring anything unexpected, the Senators will likely offer him another contract at the end of the season.”  None of Ottawa’s other NCAA blueliners warranted an honourable mention from Powers (Bryce Aneloski, Chris Wideman, or Michael Sdao).  It’s a no-brainer that the Sens will offer Blood a contract at the end of the season.