Senators News: April 6th

-There will be no final game drama in the NHL to decide who does or doesn’t get into the playoffs–all sixteen teams were set as of last night.  Positioning jockeying remains, but there will be a large number of meaningless contests to close out the regular season.

Daniel Alfredsson admits it has been difficult to get excited about the last two games, “We’ve really tried to stay upbeat after the four wins and clinching the playoff spot, keeping the emotion going. It’s been tough to regroup to get the game to where we want. That game was nowhere near playoff intensity or the intensity we’re going to see next week. It’s more mental than anything. We’ll regroup, try to play a good game on Saturday and then move on.”  The truth is that it’s irrelevant if the Sens finish 7th or 8th–they will be heavy underdogs regardless, although I think they match-up better against the Rangers.  Don Brennan thinks the Sens should have been sending messages in last night’s game, but I don’t see the benefit in brawling with the Bruins in a meaningless game (unless they want to go ala Pittsburgh and try to injure players).  Save the energy and gusto for the games that matter.

Ian Mendes Tweets that Chris Neil took a nasty spill in practice and won’t join the team in New Jersey.

-I keep hearing commentators talk in hushed tones about how Erik Karlsson is going to have to be aware that he’ll be targeted in the playoffs.  The comments always imply he’ll struggle and that he has no idea what to expect.  It’s frankly ridiculous.  He’s been targeted all season long, he’s played playoff hockey (his rookie year), and for anyone who has watched him play they can see he’s very good at avoiding being hit.  It’s frankly much ado about nothing.

Mika Zibanejad and Fredrik Claesson‘s seasons are over with Djurgarden, which means Zibanejad will be on his way to Binghamton shortly.  Marcus Sorensen‘s season with Boras is also over.

-Here are my profiles of Sens prospects Marcus Sorensen and Bryce Aneloski.

Denis Boucher says mental toughness is a myth, “If you don’t learn to manage your thoughts and emotions and strictly focus on being mentally tough, you’re putting yourself in a perpetual state of denial. This is not at all helpful, because you’re just trying to hide the fact that you don’t know what to do with your negative thoughts and emotions. We can’t ignore the fact that stress and negative thoughts and emotions are part of being an athlete. Trying not to think about it by being mentally tough brings us back to the White Bear Syndrome. If I say to you, “don’t think about a white bear” what are you going to do? Think about a white bear. Since it is impossible to get rid of stress, negative thoughts and emotions, why not train athletes to deal with them and take control of their brain activity?

Prospect Profile: Bryce Aneloski

Bryce Aneloski (D-R, 6’2, DOB 1990, 7-196/10)
2007-08 USHL Cedar Rapids 59-8-12-20 +13 39pim (ppg 0.33) 4th d-pts
2008-09 NCAA Providence 16-0-1-1 8pim (ppg 0.06)
2008-09 USHL Cedar Rapid 38-4-8-12 -3 38pim (ppg 0.31) 4th
2009-10 USHL Cedar Rapids 60-15-39-54 +10 34pim (ppg 0.90) 1st all-star
2010-11 NCAA Nebraska-Omaha 39-2-17-19 +15 (ppg 0.48) 2nd
2011-12 NCAA Nebraska-Omaha 38-6-14-20 -5 12pim (ppg 0.52) 1st

The Sens final pick of the 2010 draft, Aneloski got a lot of exposure to their scouts by playing with 2009 Sens draft picks Jeff Costello and Chris Wideman in Cedar Rapids (he was not ranked by Central Scouting when drafted).  He was selected the year after a failed semester with Providence in the NCAA.  A puck-mover, he’s completed his second season with Nebraska-Omaha where he lead the team in scoring and slightly improved his offensive totals over last year.  It’s safe to assume Aneloski will play at least one more year in the NCAA before considering turning pro.  He describes himself, “I think I’m a good puck-moving defenseman. I think I can make a good outlet pass. I think I can play good stick-on-stick in the d-zone and stuff like that. I’d say the biggest strength that’s come this year [09-10] has been my play in the offensive zone, just making a little bit more stickhandles, like the feel of the puck and stuff like that, and I think my shot, too, just by working at it this summer.”  Tim Murray said, “(Aneloski) is just a guy that is a puck-moving, transition defenceman that you usually can’t get in the draft at that point in time. He’s two years older, he’s a late bloomer. But we’ve had success with guys like that … (who) have gone through the draft, that really have a heartbeat and a chance to be players. We’re not afraid of those guys. But they do drop because they’ve been through a draft. There’s still that stigma with some teams, I believe, but why should you be scared off … He’s got talent. I guess we didn’t address our needs, but he was too good to (pass) by.”  Here’s an interview with Sens scouts Bill McCarthy and Bob Janecyk about Aneloski, and here’s a goal by him from this year.