Senators News: February 24th

Craig Anderson has injured his hand (at home making dinner according to Allen Panzeri), so Robin Lehner has been recalled.  Bruce Garrioch reports that the injury required surgery and he could be out from 10 days to 6-8 weeks (10 days to 2 weeks according to Panzeri).  Garrioch hits the panic button looking for a goaltending change, but it’s hard to imagine given the watery thin market and the fact that both Anderson and Lehner are long-term pieces.  I suspect Lehner will be given the ball and the team will stand pat.

Allen Panzeri wonders about Jim O’Brien‘s future, with Paul MacLean saying, “He’s come up and with the injury to Jesse Winchester we felt there was the need for that person and he was the obvious choice and to this point he’s done a good job. Now what that turns into we’ll find out at the end of the year and into the future. But to this point in time, he’s done a real good job for us.”  O’Brien said, “I’m just going out there and treating every game as a tryout. For me it’s just day-to-day, so I have to keep showing up, working hard, and playing good. Good things usually happen when you do that.”

Scott Burnside weighs in on Erik Karlsson‘s Norris Trophy chances, “The exact wording suggests the award should go the defenseman who displays the “greatest all-around ability in the position.” Is that Karlsson? Certainly he is a key component of a surprising Ottawa team that looks like a lock to make the playoffs and is now shockingly challenging Boston for the top spot in the Northeast Division. As of this writing, Karlsson’s 60 points put him a whopping 20 points ahead of Brian Campbell of the Florida Panthers in the point race among rearguards. 20 points. Karlsson’s 47 assists have him tied for second among all NHL players, his 52 takeaways lead all defensemen, and he is ninth overall in scoring. When Mike Green was posting back-to-back 70-point seasons (76 and 73, to be exact) for the Washington Capitals, he was a finalist for the Norris but did not win. Could Karlsson be in the same boat? With Nashville’s twin towers Shea Weber and Ryan Suter both enjoying Norris-worthy seasons and Zdeno Chara another strong candidate, Karlsson’s inclusion as a Norris finalist might come down to a battle against stay-at-home defenseman (and fellow All-Star Game participant) Daniel Girardi of the New York Rangers. Talk about yin and yang. While Karlsson is explosive offensively but more prone to mistakes in his own zone (he is still a respectable plus-15, a marked improvement over last season’s minus-30), Girardi leads the NHL in average ice time per game and has been an anchor on a team that leads the Eastern Conference in goals allowed per game and is second in the league in that category. Flashy? Not really, but worthy of Norris Trophy consideration? Definitely. In short, tough times ahead for voters.”

-As expected, with Robin Lehner in Ottawa Brian Stewart has been recalled from Elmira.  Joy Lindsay provides the lines for tonight’s game: Mike Hoffman-Corey Locke-Mike Bartlett, Rob Klinkhammer-Stephane Da Costa-Andre Petersson, David Dziurzynski-Pat Cannone-Jack Downing, Derek Grant-Wacey Hamilton-Francis Lessard;Mark Borowiecki-Eric Gryba, Dan Henningson-Tim Conboy, Patrick Wiercioch-Craig Schira.  Mike McKenna will start.

The Silver Seven‘s bobbykelly continues his look at prospects with Fredrik Claesson, speculating “If Claesson‘s going to break into Ottawa’s defence corps in the coming seasons, he’s going to have to outplay some other more experienced defensive defencemen in order to do so.”  In context I think bobbykelly means older prospects like Eric Gryba and Mark Borowiecki, which is a reasonable supposition.  Here’s my review of the pick when he was drafted (link), “Ranked as the #27 European skater by Central Scouting, Claesson spent most of the year playing with Zibanejad‘s Djurgarden’s SEL squad (he also played with Sens draft pick Marcus Sorensen, who will play with Skelleftea next year).  He was the youngest blueliner to dress for the team.  Last year he won a silver medal at the under-18 WJC.  The organisation has compared him to Anton Volchenkov, which is high praise indeed, but he’ll return to Sweden for at least another year.  Other rankings: ISS #112 and FC #172.”

Grant McCagg looks at risers and fallers looking ahead to the 2012 draft, with Radek Faksa, Teuvo Teravainen, Brendan Gaunce, Sebastien Collberg raising and Mikhail Grigorenko, Phil Di Giuseppe, Martin Frk and Malcolm Subban falling.