Senators News: November 7th

-Lines for tonight’s game against Wilkes-Barre match those reported from yesterday’s practice.

-Wilkes-Barre is 4-5-0 thus far this season; Paul Thompson is the team’s leading scorer with 9 points, while Brian Dumoulin leads from the blueline with 5 points; goaltender Jeff Zatkoff has started the lion’s share of the team’s games.  Binghamton beat the Penguins 2-1 to open the season.

Luke Richardson provided injury updates for Jared Cowen and Mark Stone.  The latter might play on Saturday, while Cowen won’t be -available this week as the team is being cautious with his muscle pull.

-Richardson also talked about Zibanejad and Silfverberg‘s offensive play thus far:

Other than maybe two out of the games that we have played – and those are both probably at the end of the weekend where I saw a little fatigue in [Zibanejad‘s] game – he has been really explosive and he has had chances. He has had great chances. He has been dangerous, even on goals that have been scored by other people, he has started the plays and is very explosive. I’m not worried about him because his chances are still coming. It’s just (he’s) a little snake bit and the same with Silfverberg; even though Silfverberg has a couple (of goals). They have had their chances to really pop a few in and I really get worried when those chances stop coming. I have talked to them about just being patient; playing the same… going after it and really trying to be a little bit simpler on those Sunday afternoon games or the second games in two nights or third game in three nights to make sure that they don’t try to do a little too much – and then they don’t get the opportunity to score. (They) just make sure they to let it come to them. They have been really good. They have been working hard and they are smart players. I have been using them a lot on the penalty kill; that takes a little bit of the energy out of them also but they have been dangerous and effective thus far, so I can’t complain.

Nichols (whose transcription I’m using) is right that these comments are virtually identical to those he made earlier, and he’s also right that Richardson tends to compliment everyone about their PK work.  Still, fans need to relax and just let these guys adjust.  No one on the team is booming offensively, as the injuries to key offensive catalysts have slowed down production.

-Richardson also talked about the play of Corey Cowick and Shane Prince:

Corey is doing a lot of grunt work for us. Trying to be a physical presence playing on what we call a fourth line. But in this league, you have to play four lines. You have to have four good lines. He has been really strong up and down the wing; getting to the net. He has taken on a really big role on the penalty kill for us and he has done a great job in that respect – he is a big body that can block shots and he can skate. He’s been doing really good. He has got a great attitude. He has worked hard. He has made the steps the last few years progressively from junior hockey – being a real big force to a kind of a guy up and down from the East Coast (Hockey League) to the American (Hockey) League, to now a guy who is becoming a more steady (professional) in the AHL with a key role, so that’s been great for us to have; but more importantly, (it’s great) for him to build his confidence.

Shane Prince played his first two games. He hasn’t been in a game really – in his first scrimmage, he got hurt, so he hasn’t really had very much scrimmage time in training camp. (He’s had) no exhibition games. He’s already a couple weeks behind everybody in the league and he looked great out there. He has kept himself in great shape and I think that was a key for him coming to camp in great shape. It gave him that extra chance – when you come back from an injury, you come back a little quicker that way. He had a lot of energy. When he had the puck, you could see that determination he wanted to get it to the the net and that is what we need right now. Defensively, he was great. He got back into the middle and disrupted a couple neutral zone plays with a good stick because he has great hand-eye coordination. He drove the net, so I was really happy with him and I just think he was ecstatic to get back into a game. It is a lot of hard work when you’re injured and you have to take the long road back of doing the hard skates before and after practice and doing extra workouts. But that’s what you have got to do and that’s what it takes. He did a great job of getting himself back to this position.

We did juggle the lines, to answer your question from earlier. We are probably going to try Mika Zibanejad at center, because we have been trying to use him on the off-wing to use his strength to drive the net on his off-side. But with Da Costa banging his knee up just a little bit the other day — nothing structurally, just kind of banged it so it’s bruised up and sore – so he probably won’t play tomorrow. So we need another centerman so that’s key with (Zibanejad), we could use him on the wing and at center, so that lets us try and use Shane Prince in a scoring role and try and get him going like he was in junior.

A couple of points here: Da Costa should be the team’s first line center, but he hasn’t been 100% the entire season, which has forced a lot of line juggling including Zibanejad playing center.  The one plus in all the injury problems in Binghamton is that it has given Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Prince a chance to play with top players to show what they can do at this stage of their development.  I don’t think it’s a problem that Pageau needed to be moved down the lineup–he’s a young player who is developing–and there’s a good chance Prince will find himself in the same boat as the team gets healthy.

-Elmira plays Florida tonight; the Everblades are 3-4-2 and feature former B-Sen Bobby Raymond (second in points on the blueline) and top scorer (and former Blue Jacket draft pick) Matt Marquardt (12 points); Mark Guggenberger is the team’s starting goaltender.

Bruce Garrioch wonders if the NHL’s deal with NBC is one of the reasons they are back negotiations with the NHLPA.  It’s certainly a factor, but Garrioch makes his speculation a little ridiculous when he suggests that league could be trying to start the season November 23rd–the whole month has already been cancelled, so that’s out of the question.

-Nice to see Americans push back from lunacy last night and re-elect Obama.  I don’t think either candidate is all that different when it comes to economic policy, but there’s a vast chasm between the two on social issues, not to mention the Republican rejection of science when they don’t like it.  The sad thing about the election is the reminder that politics in Canada are becoming as absurd as those south of the border.

-Speaking of the election, WOW player Colleen Lachowicz was elected to the state senate in Maine last night, adding yet another riposte to mom’s everywhere who tell their children they are wasting their time playing video games.  Not only are there professional video game circuits these days, but apparently you can convert your WOW play into the adult game of politics.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)