Senators News: March 28th

Jason Spezza states the obvious, “We feel like we’re in a place where can dictate our own future. If we win games, we’re going to make the playoffs. There won’t be a ton of scoreboard-watching as long as we (get) the wins.”

-I’m not sure why anyone cares what Darren Pang thinks, but Sens fans are up in arms after he said he’d take Alex Pietrangelo over Erik Karlsson.  That’s exactly what happened in the 2008 draft (Pietrangelo was 4th overall, Karlsson was 15th), and Pang makes the argument everyone has to make when comparing another defenceman to Karlsson–he’s better defensively.  One can argue the issue back and forth, but the key point is that Pang is the colour man for the St. Louis Blues and as long as that’s the case he’s a homer–if he were in Toronto he’d take Jake Gardiner, if he were in Montreal he’d take P. K Subban, etcetera.  Pang is nothing to get excited about.

Sports Illustrated‘s power rankings are out with Ottawa 13th.

Rob Brodie writes that the Sens ratings have never been better on Sportsnet.

Rory Boylen looks at numbers behind goal scoring in the NHL and misses the point.  He talks about how 5-on-5 goal scoring hasn’t changed much while overall scoring has declined.  Boylen suggests the decline in powerplays is the reason for the drop, but he misses the point that if there are fewer powerplays that means more minutes are played 5-on-5 and yet, those numbers haven’t increased.  The inference is that goal scoring overall is declining.

Chris Wideman talks about his decision to sign an ATO with Binghamton, “I’m definitely excited to be here. I think it’s a great opportunity. I’m just excited, and excited to be playing with Pat Cannone again and see some of the guys I’ve met over the last few years at development camp. It should be a good experience. [Cannone is] great. He was like my older brother at school, so I’m sure he’ll be the same way here. He picked me up from the airport last night with a big smile on his face, and it’s just great to have a familiar face around and have someone showing you the ropes. All the guys have been great today, helping me on the ice and off the ice, so it’s been a pretty smooth transition so far.  I know Mike [McKenna] from skating at home over the summers. He’s another familiar face. It’s great to have some guys I know, and like I said, everybody’s been really nice and really helpful, so it’s been good. I just think it’s a good experience [to play in Binghamton]. I think it’s a great way to get started in your pro career, and I think it’s just a great experience that will give me a leg up for next year and really show me what I need to work on to be ready for pro hockey. You just have to be a little more focused on your positioning, because guys can break you down a little easier. Guys are stronger and a little faster, so being a smaller guy, you really just have to be smart in how you play guys. Even after the first day, I learned so much today, and I’m just excited about the whole opportunity. I’m not going to out-muscle anybody out there or beat anybody up, but I think just moving the puck and trying to get involved offensively when I can. Just being a good teammate, that’s important itself. I think it will be a good experience.”

Kurt Kleinendorst talked about Louie Caporusso‘s rookie year, “Louie‘s had a good year. I think he’s made a lot of progress. It’s unfortunate, because he was one of the guys we had hoped to keep here through the end of the year, and I liked him a lot. I thought he’s played so well. And at the same time, we were hoping to keep him over in Elmira and have him go through a nice, long playoff run, and it would have been a great finish for him. That’s still a possibility, but that’s unlikely.”

-Kleinendorst also talked about the possibility of Ben Blood joining the team on an ATO, “Obviously, Ben was one of the players that was kind of on the radar. But again, every single guy, his situation’s a little bit unique. I’ve not heard anything, and it wouldn’t surprise me one way or the other. If Ben decided to stay and just finish the school year, who could argue with that? Education is important, and a couple guys did that last year. But if he decided to come in and join us for the last eight games, I’ve got to think that’s a possibility, but I can’t speak for the organization. I really don’t know what’s going to happen.”

-I’ve begun profiling all the Sens prospects beginning with Ben Blood (link).

Stu Hackel doesn’t like the current playoff format (echoing Ken Campbell), but does mention that inter-divisional playoffs also have problems–I remember the 1987-88 season where the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins both missed the playoffs with over .500 records while the Leafs made it when they were 28 games under .500.  There’s no perfect system, but the current configuration is fairer than the old system.  Campbell’s suggestion of seeding the entire league one through sixteen is pie in the sky.

Prospect Profile: Ben Blood

Ben Blood (D-L, 6’3, DOB 1989, 4-120/07)
2006-07 USHS Shattuck 63-11-25-36 144pim (ppg 0.57) 2nd d-pts
2007-08 USHL Des Moines/Indi 57-10-13-23 -8 100pim (ppg 0.40) 2nd
2008-09 NCAA N. Dakota 31-0-1-1 +3 12pim (ppg 0.03) 6th
2009-10 NCAA N. Dakota 43-5-9-14 +11 96pim (ppg 0.32) 3rd all-academic
2010-11 NCAA N. Dakota 44-2-10-12 +32 48pim (ppg 0.27) 4th
2011-12 NCAA N. Dakota 42-3-18-21 +5 73pim (ppg 0.50) 1st “A”

Ben Blood is the longest serving amateur in the organisation, hailing back to Bryan Murray’s first draft which was largely dominated by John Muckler’s philosophy (he was ranked #116 by Central Scouting).  Blood is a big, strong, defensive blueliner who is finishing his senior year at North Dakota (perhaps best known for this incident with Chad Rau, which resulted in the loss of his assistant captaincy).  He’s enjoyed a career year in points and I’m sure the Sens would like him to play in Binghamton now that his college season is over (they offered him an ELC last summer, but he rejected it to play his senior year in the NCAA).  When he was drafted Blood was thought to be a well-rounded defenseman, but his offensive output in college has remained muted so he projects as a physical, depth player.  Here’s a UND profile of Blood from earlier this season, and this is an old scouting report from Hockey Futures: “Blood has an intriguing combination of skill and size.  He is fluid and sturdy on his skates, especially considering his size.  Blood’s lateral movement and quickness is somewhat lacking, but this should improve with time.  Blood plays well in all three zones and is excellent on special teams.  His soft hands, poise with the puck, vision, and heavy, accurate slap shot make him an excellent power play quarterback.  He also possesses a quick release and precise wrist shot.  Blood has excellent hand eye coordination and has the ability to unleash a wicked one-timer when setup.  In the defensive zone, Blood is a formidable presence and shuts down players by angling them to the boards.  He is terrific positioning, especially in one-on-one situations and uses his size to effectively clear out traffic in front of the crease.  He could play a more physically, but Blood’s game is focused on being disciplined and not hurting his team with an errant play or missed body check.  Blood is also a good communicator both on and off the ice.  He possesses good leadership qualities and could be a future team leader.”  A final note, Blood‘s height is listed as either 6’3 or 6’4 (I’ve gone with the Sens website number).