Senators News: October 27th

-Tonight Binghamton plays the Portland Pirates (Phoenix’s affiliate), who are 2-2-1 on the season thus far while leading the Eastern Conference in goals scored (averaging 5 per game).  Alexandre Bolduc leads the team in scoring with 9 points; former Sen David Rundblad has four assists, but is behind blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson in defensive scoring (he has 7 points); former Ranger Chad Johnson is the starting goaltender.

-Early reports on tonight’s lineup: Silfverberg-Pageau-Zibanejad, Hoffman-Cannone-Petersson, Dziurzynski-Grant-Jessiman, Schneider-Caporusso-Cowick; Wiercioch-Benoit, Claesson-Eckford, Blood-Borowiecki; Robin Lehner gets the start.  This allows me to correct an error I made yesterday where I mentioned that Caporusso and Blood were sent back to Elmira–that is not the case.

-Elmira faces Cincinnati again tonight in ECHL action.

Randy Lee talked about some of Ottawa’s prospects:

Matt Puempel

We’ve gotten some really positive feedback from (Kitchener head coach Steve Spott) about Matt’s approach. This is a young guy that had to handle some injury issues, concussion issues, a suspension (last season) —  that set him back a bit, but he never made excuses. Every time we talk to him we see a much more mature, professional young man. The Kitchener team is just overjoyed with the impact he’s had on their team.

Stefan Noesen

He’s got that real confidence level that you like to see. He wants to be the guy, he want to be the shooter to make a difference in games. Great improvement in his maturity over the years, and I think he had his eyes opened at a couple of development camps where he realized how hard pros have to commit to make themselves better. He has a great skill set, and that took him pretty far, but he’s bought in to the fact there are other things he needs to do to supplement his skill set to make himself a better player.

Jakub Culek

He had a very good camp (in Binghamton). He’s a guy that, early on, we had some concerns about his game, but he’s addressed them, and he’s grown up. Some kids get it and some kids don’t, and he’s starting to really get it. He understood when we assigned him back to junior that it was a numbers game and he was basically a victim of the NHL lockout.

Cody Ceci

We’re very lucky that we get to be hands-on with Cody, we have Jason Smith as a speciality coach on our staff who will get to work one-on-one with him. He’s another good player for us with the way the game is going, as a skill game and a puck possession game, for us to add another guy like him, the future on our blueline is very bright.

Francois Brassard

We talked to Patrick Roy (on a recent Remparts visit) and he couldn’t say enough good things about the kid. We asked him tough questions, and he said some great things about how he’s approaching the game, how he’s handling pressure, how he keeps himself focused, and how he steps up when he’s called upon. You can tell talking to a coach whether he believes in a player, and that’s the vibe I got from (Roy).

Michael Sdao

He’s a hard-nosed defencemen, a leader. He’s a yes-sir, no sir-type of guy who just goes to work every day. He needed to improve his skating and he’s done that and made some huge strides. He’s real competitive, a hard player to play against. He’s in his senior year, so he’s looking forward to honing his skills either in the AHL or pushing for a spot here in Ottawa [next season].

The most interesting elements of this are his comments that Culek would be playing in the minors (probably in Elmira) were it not for the lockout-created logjam of players; he confirmed that Michael Sdao is on the radar and someone considered to have NHL-potential (something dismissed by Riley Forsythe yesterday for reasons that remain unknown), and the positive comments from Patrick Roy about Brassard are interesting although I’d expect a coach to praise his starting goaltender.

-Speaking of prospects, I’m always happy to help out Bobby Kelly‘s posts: Marcus Sorensen is no longer Sens property.  I wonder if Bobby is unaware that freshman players in the NCAA are not automatically inserted in the lineup, given his surprise that Tim Boyle has not dressed for Union College yet.

-Here’s part two of D. J. Powers ECAC preview, which includes comments on Michael Sdao:

[He] emerged as one of the best rearguards coming out of the ECAC last season. Sdao doubled his point totals from his sophomore year, finishing with 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) to lead Princeton in defensive scoring. Not surprisingly, he also led the Ivy League with 87 penalty minutes. Sdao’s excellent junior campaign earned him spots on the All-Ivy League First Team and on the All-ECAC Second Team. In addition to his increased point totals, Sdao made some very good strides in his development last season; two of the most notable areas were in his overall maturity and improved decision-making with the puck. While Sdao continues to make his mark as an ultra-aggressive competitor, he’s also playing smarter and with a bit more discipline as well. That, in turn, has made him more effective in all situations. And if Sdao can continue to strike a balance between his tough-as-nails style of play and being more disciplined, he will be an even bigger threat to opposing teams.

Allan Muir dynamites the CHLPA as an organisation, but says they serve the purpose of pushing the league into dealing with some of its outstanding issues:

While a few players grumble about the weekly stipend — ranging from $35 to $60, based on experience — many have taken issue with the strict limitations placed on the education packages that are offered as part of their contracts. Ideally, a player graduates from junior hockey and goes on to a long and lucrative career smashing records, signing trading cards and appearing on video game box covers. Realistically? The dream dies here. And with just 18 months to take advantage of the education option, the vast majority are left to face a stark choice: Either continue on to play in a lower minor league or overseas with at least a  faint hope of moving up the ladder, or head off to school before that avenue is closed off as well. The time limitation precludes doing both. Anyone can see that’s a lousy choice to put on a kid who has devoted his whole life to the game. It’s a flaw that can and should be addressed.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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