Senators News: March 30th

Bryan Murray believes the Sens need three more wins and 94 points to make the playoffs.  “A lot of veteran guys who we talked about had down years last year. It goes hand-in-hand overall with team performance and situations a year ago that we didn’t handle very well. With the changes that we made, if we can get in to (the playoffs), we can do anything if we get in. If you don’t play your best it’s difficult to win. For the most part, teams are very competitive and there are a lot of factors that go into winning. You have to have goaltending, you have to get everybody playing and, as we have the last couple of games, the veteran guys carrying the ball most of the time. I just think when you get off the fine line of being the best that you can be, it’s hard to win unless everybody is on board.”

Ian Mendes Tweets that the Sens record this season after 3+ days of rest is 1-4-1.

Nicklas Lidstrom thinks Erik Karlsson should be part of the Norris Trophy conversation, “He has to be in the mix. He’s playing so well. He’s a major reason Ottawa got off to such a good start and they’ve played so well.”

Bruce Garrioch gives five reasons for the Sens success: 1. Jason Spezza, 2. Daniel Alfredsson, 3. Erik Karlsson, 4. Craig Anderson, and 5. Paul MacLean.  To a certain extent there’s no arguing Garrioch’s list, but digging into the details it’s not so simple.  While Karlsson is enjoying a career year, Anderson is not (excluding his terrible half-season with Colorado last year, this season’s numbers are his worst since 05-06 with Chicago), and Alfredsson‘s production only looks good compared to last season’s injury-plagued year (in 09-10 he was still a point-per-game player).  I realise there are intangibles other than production involved, but the reasons for the Sens success is broader than Garrioch’s list.  The regular season isn’t over so I won’t offer my own complete analysis, but Filip Kuba deserves mention, as does Milan Michalek and the Binghamton trio of Colin Greening, Zack Smith, and Erik Condra (or, more simply, the team’s depth).

-Kurt Kleinendorst was suspended one game for his comments about the officiating.  Newly signed Chris Wideman will not play this year for Binghamton due to an injury sustained in his last game for Miami, so he’s returning to the college to finish his scholastic year.

-Here’s my profile of Sens prospect Jeff Costello.

Wayne Scanlan writes a lengthy article defending Pierre Gauthier, harkening back to his days in Ottawa.  It’s not much of a defence (despite the length) and he tries to make Gauthier’s bizarre moves look better by calling them “brash”, but I have no idea why Scanlan decided to write this paean of defence.  What isn’t pointed out is that Gauthier has been the author of his own demise everywhere he’s worked and it’s his steadfast refusal to change his approach that guarantees the clock is ticking every time he’s hired (Stu Hackel offers a more succinct and level-headed look at Gauthier).

Prospect Profile: Jeff Costello

Jeff Costello (LW, 6’0, DOB 1990, 5-146/09; contract: unsigned)
2007-08 USHS Catholic Memorial 22-31-17-48 60pim (ppg 2.18) 1st pts
2008-09 USHL Cedar Rapids 54-24-9-33 +8 73pim (ppg 0.61) 6th all-star
2009-10 USHL Cedar Rapids 54-29-19-48 +18 149pim (ppg 0.88) 3rd all-star
2010-11 NCAA Notre Dame 44-12-6-18 -4 56pim (ppg 0.41) 11th
2011-12 NCAA Notre Dame 28-5-7-12 -6 58pim (ppg 0.42) 9th
2012-13 NCAA Notre Dame 33-11-19-30 +18 52pim (ppg 0.91) 3rd

Drafted out of the USHL (he was ranked #50 by Central Scouting), where he was a teammate with future Sens draft pick Bryce Aneloski.  The hard working energy forward is coming off a breakout season with Notre Dame, both in terms of points and intangibles like plus/minus.  This is his final year in the NCAA and then the Sens will have to make a decision on him, but I expect him to be signed.  Costello describes himself as:

I think I’d fall as a very physical forward that likes to bang the body around. But at the same time, I have the ability to score. Not necessarily pretty goals, but I can get those dirty, greasy goals that you have to have. I like to lead by example, and really bring the physical part of the game and get a lot of that exposed out there.

WCHBlog wrote about him prior to the draft, saying:

Jeff Costello is one of the best prospects to come out of the Wisconsin high school ranks in a number of years … He was one of the top goal scorers in Wisconsin and earned a scholarship offer to play for the University of Notre Dame … Costello showed he can excel against even the best competition in the USHL with a very successful year. He finished the year tied for 17th in goal scoring in the league with 24 goals–that may not sound impressive, but the only players younger than Costello with more goals were potential first round pick Louis Leblanc, and Stanislav Galiev, who could be a first round pick next year. Costello also developed a reputation as a fan favorite with his very physical style of play.  Costello has Type 1 Diabetes, which forces him to keep constant watch over his health, but he does a great job at managing it, and it has never been an issue for his hockey career.  Strengths: Goal-scoring ability, physical play.  Needs to Improve: Picking up assists, skating, defensive play.

Here’s him working on his boxing in the USHL and a highlight from his sophomore season.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)