–Sean Leahy provides an overview of the Sens last season and projects for this one:
There’s enough promise up and down the Ottawa lineup to believe they can make a return trip to the postseason. If the offensive leaders in Alfredsson, Michalek and Spezza don’t take big steps back and the defense improves slightly, the Senators will find their way into the Eastern Conference’s top-8 again. Anderson will once again need to play at a consistent level, with Bishop (or Lehner) providing reliable spot duty. If the youngsters like Zibanejad, Silfverberg and/or Stone are able to help make an impact offensively, there won’t be any questions about whether or not this team will be playoff-bound.
It’s hard to disagree with any of this given how vague it is, but I think Leahy misses what I see as the key issue for Ottawa which will be the offensive transition from defense to offence–will having only Karlsson and Gonchar as puck-movers be enough?
–Mika Zibanejad talked about playing the wing in Binghamton:
I’ve played pretty much every position: Right wing and centre as well. I’m comfortable (with the change). I played left, right and centre at the world juniors. I played half-and-half back at home as well. I don’t mind the switching around. It’s good to be able to play different positions as well. If it’s going to give me a bigger chance to make the team, it’s good. For me, it doesn’t matter. I just want to go out there and play.
The organisation wants Zibanejad to play in the top-six and believe the wing is the only way for him to do so (which makes sense given the contracts of Spezza and Turris).
-In the same article Garrioch reports that Hugh Jessiman suffered a shoulder injury in the team’s scrimmage (Stephane Da Costa and Shane Prince [strained knee] also had issues); presumably one of these injuries was enough for Dustin Gazley to be called up from Elmira.
-Speaking of Jessiman, he talked about the opportunity with Ottawa:
They said we need size. We don’t have a lot of it. We think you can be a Dwight King kind of guy for us and if willing to take that chance, we’ll sign you. I’m not a heavyweight fighter, but I’m not afraid to stick up for my teammates and drop the gloves. Both here and (in Ottawa), I can do that. It might be a touch different role here than (in Ottawa). [When I turned pro] I was forced to not only use by body, but back when I came in here, five, six, maybe seven, years ago, there was a lot more fighting, it was a lot grittier. It was a different game. Hartford and New York wanted me to be a gritty, two-way power forward, but to do that, you have to be able to stick up for yourself and your teammates. So I had to learn how to fight. You learn the hard way. A lot of these young guys will go through this in the next year or two or three…or four, if it takes them as long as it did for me. It takes awhile for guys to bring the same game every night. It’s really hard to do. Not everybody can do it.
-The ECHL has announced training camp rosters and Elmira’s includes (players from college, junior, or pro leagues below the ECHL are highlighted in green):
Bryan Kalczynski (NCAA III 2.54)
Nicholas Lareau (has not played since the BCHL in 06-07)
Nick Niedert (ECHL 2.07)
Joe Spagnoli (FHL 4.44)
Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel (ECHL 62-3-11-14)
Lucas Frey (FHL 38-7-16-23)
Artyom Gumenyuk (NCAA III 26-4-2-6)
Ivan Lyaskevich (GMHL 31-6-17-23)
Jeremy Norducci (NCAA III 23-1-10-11)
Andrew Rowe (AHL 34-8-3-11)
Jarrett Rush (ECHL 57-0-13-13)
Jordon Southorn (ECHL 50-8-13-21)
Corey Bellamy (FHL 32-6-8-14)
Yegor Bezugly (ACHA II 6-3-6-9)
Brandon Blandina (NCAA 39-4-5-9)
Jean Bourbeau (ECHL 49-10-16-26)
Artem Demkov (ECHL 67-20-37-57)
Dustin Gazley (ECHL 72-25-60-85) – called up to join Binghamton’s camp
Matthew Harrington (FHL 43-11-30-41)
Kevin Harvey (ECHL 34-3-8-11)
Chaz Johnson (ECHL 64-20-15-35)
Alec Kirschner (ECHL 30-0-2-2)
Kevin McCarey (NCAA 37-4-8-12)
Tim D’Orazio (NCAA III 21-8-6-14)
Jordan Pietrus (ECHL 65-13-27-40)
Charles Vaillancourt (NCAA III 10-0-0-0)
Jon Vaillancourt (NCAA III 22-1-2-3)
Kyle Watson (SPHL 53-6-16-22)
Some of the league acronyms may not be familiar, so: SPHL = Southern Professional Hockey League (a feeder for the ECHL), FHL = Federal Hockey League (feeder league for the ECHL), ACHA II = college three-tiers below the NCAA, GMHL = Greater Metro Hockey League (independent junior league).
This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)