Ottawa at the Eighty-Game Mark

The Sens are now eighty-games into the season (for the previous ten-game segment go link).  Ottawa went 5-4-1, earning 11 points (a 2 point decrease from their previous ten games).  They are 2nd in their division (unchanged), 7th in the conference (unchanged), and 13th in the overall standings (down from 12th).  They are 4th in goals for (unchanged), 22nd in goals against (up from 26th), 9th in powerplay percentage (down from 6th), 15th on the penalty kill (unchanged).  They remain 10th in 5-on-5 goals for/against ratio (1.06); they are 15th in the league in faceoffs (up from 17th); they are 29th in shots allowed (unchanged) and 9th in shots-for (unchanged).

Here’s a quick snapshot of player’s stats over the last ten games, although with TOI and faceoffs I’ve simply indicated if the numbers have changed significantly (INJ=games missed due to injury, SCR=scratched):
Daniel Alfredsson 9-5-5-10 +9 TOI 19:00 INJ 1
Jason Spezza
8-4-6-10 +3 TOI 19:55 FO% 53.8 INJ 2
Milan Michalek 10-3-6-9 +3 TOI 19:32
Kyle Turris 10-4-4-8 +3 TOI 16:52 FO% 46.3 (TOI increasing)
Erik Karlsson
10-1-7-8 +4 TOI 25:21
Colin Greening 10-4-3-7 +3 TOI 15:32
Filip Kuba 10-1-4-5 +7 TOI 23:41  
Nick Foligno
10-1-4-5 +4 TOI 14:38
Sergei Gonchar 9-2-2-4 -2 TOI 22:16
Chris Neil 10-2-1-3 -5 TOI 12:47 (TOI declining)
Chris Phillips 10-1-1-2 +7 TOI 19:03 (TOI increasing)
Zack Smith 10-0-2-2 +2 TOI 14:05 FO% 48.6 (TOI decreasing)
Jesse Winchester 2-0-1-1 +1 TOI 10:39 INJ 8
Bobby Butler 4-0-1-1 Even TOI 11:28 SCR 6
Matt Carkner 4-0-1-1 +3 TOI 11:51 SCR 6 (TOI decreasing)
Kaspars Daugavins 6-1-0-1 Even TOI 11:17 SCR 4
Rob Klinkhammer
9-0-1-1 -2 TOI 11:40 SCR 1 (TOI decreasing)
Jim O’Brien 10-0-1-1 -1 TOI 11:50 FO% 47.5 (FO decreasing) INJ 1
Erik Condra 10-0-1-1 -1 TOI 14:11
Jared Cowen 10-0-1-1 -4 TOI 18:55 (TOI decreasing)
Matt Gilroy 7-0-0-0 -3 TOI 17:30 SCR 3
Zenon Konopka 2-0-0-0 Even TOI 7:50 FO% 58.9 SCR 8
Peter Regin (injured)
Ben Bishop 1-2-1 2.41 .912 (GAA and SV declined) INJ 4
Craig Anderson 4-2-0 2.83 .914 (GAA and SV improved)

Alfredsson lead the team in goals and Karlsson the team in assists.  Alfredsson also lead the team in plus/minus (with a robust +9), while Chris Neil was at the bottom at -5.  Zenon Konopka and Bobby Butler are essentially out of the lineup, while the return of Jesse Winchester probably spells the end of Rob KlinkhammerMatt Gilroy‘s failure to produce continues.  Ben Bishop‘s numbers came back down to earth prior to his injury.

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Senators News: April 4th

-The Sens loss last night means they can only face either Boston or the New York Rangers.  There’s no doubt that the team would be better off against the Rangers, but in either case they will be heavy underdogs.  As neither the Bruins, Rangers, nor the Sens have anything to play for in their final two games, no conclusions can be drawn by what happens over the next several days.  The key for Ottawa is to stay healthy.

Daniel Alfredsson can’t understand how Chris Neil‘s goal was called off last night, “I cannot believe that wasn’t a goal. In Winnipeg (Evander Kane) scored the exact same way and he didn’t use his hand to bat it in. It should have been a good goal.”

Sport Illustrated‘s rankings are out with Ottawa 11th.

-Here’s my profile of Sens prospect Jakub Culek.

-Elmira lost last night, with Brian Stewart taking the loss (Stewart, incidentally, was named the ECHL goaltender of the month for March).

-No one should care what Mike Milbury thinks, but his rant about Sidney Crosby is an opportunity to talk about the NHL’s marketing focus.  Crosby is a great player, arguably the best player of his era, but the idea that he should be immune to criticism (recall his elbow on Nick Foligno earlier this season) is absurd.  He’s a histrionic, chippy player (Craig Berube weighs in, although as one of the Flyers assistant coaches it’s in his interest to criticise) and even if he wasn’t no one is beyond reproach.  It does seem like criticising him is unacceptable around the league however (as Milbury‘s subsequent apology illustrates)–it reminds me of the approach to the league’s officiating–“best in the world” is the only acceptable narrative.

Prospect Profile: Jakub Culek

Jakub Culek (LW, 6’4, DOB 1992, 3-76/10)
2008-09 Czech U18 Plzen 29-15-16-31 98pim (ppg 1.06) 4th pts
2008-09 Czech U20 Plzen 12-3-2-5 10pim (ppg 0.41)
2009-10 QMJHL Rimouski 63-13-34-47 Even 54pim (ppg 0.74) 8th
2010-11 WJC Czech 6-1-1-2 (ppg 0.33) 11th
2010-11 QMJHL Rimouski 54-7-15-22 +2 37pim (ppg 0.40) 12th
2011-12 WJC Czech 5-1-3-4 (ppg 0.80) 4th
2011-12 QMJHL Rimouski 55-13-27-40 +3 58pim (ppg 0.72) 5th

Ottawa’s highest draft pick in 2010 (ranked #52 by Central Scouting), Culek rebounded from a terrible season last year.  Projected as a third-line player, the Sens have to make a decision on whether to retain him or not.  When he was drafted ISS said, “Culek was one of Rimouski’s better player’s night in and night out. He centered one of Rimouski’s top two lines plus played both PP and PK minutes. He finished the regular season with decent numbers. He possesses above average puck skills, puck protection and hockey sense. His skating has shown improvement from the start of the year, with added strength. He is a big project with third line upside.”  Red Line Report (who ranked him #70) said, “Big power winger has a good stride, but lacks balance.  Long wingspan that he uses to shield off defenders. Has improved his puck skills dramatically since last season [with Plzen], when he was essentially a big body who played a rugged game along the walls. Is a more confident puck-handler–willing to carry through the neutral zone and make moves off the rush. Nice release on wristers from the slot area, but is not a natural finisher around net. Creates his offence through hard work and aggression, banging and crashing down low and driving to net with and without the puck. Occasionally ridden off the puck too easily by smaller d-men he should be overpowering. Shows defensive awareness to cut off passing lanes and drop back to cover for rushing d-men. Fine prosepct if he continues to round the rough edges and add pieces to his game.”  Sens scouts Greg Royce and Vaclav Burda talked about Culek after the draft, echoing the sentiments above.  This is Culek scoring against Russia at the World Junior Championships.