Senators News: December 7th

-Not much happened yesterday beyond more of the CBA back and forth–brief moments of optimism were followed by consternation and anger.  The soap opera continues and I’ll get excited when a deal is struck.

-Binghamton plays Portland (10-9-2) tonight; the Pirates are lead by Alexandre Bolduc (22 points) and backstopped by Chad Johnson (7-5-0).  Former B-Sen Rob Klinkhammer and former Sen David Rundblad are also part of the crew.

Don Brennan reports that Mark Borowiecki is doubtful for tonight’s game after suffering a neck injury when he was jumped by Eric Neilson.  He also indicates Chris Wideman has been recalled from Elmira and is expected to play.

Luke Richardson talked about Jakob Silfverberg‘s improvement through the season thus far:

I was talking with Ben Bishop about him the other day. He scored a goal on Sunday night or afternoon, we had a late afternoon game. He ripped one top corner and there was no windup on the release; it was just a rocket. That’s what Ben said, ‘You know he’s going over the glove and you still can’t get there quick enough.’ He has that spot picked and he’s dangerous every night. Not only did he score the last couple of games, but he is creating chances and now he is creating so much awareness that he is so dangerous in small areas. And he is getting comfortable in those small areas and the smaller, tighter surface with the tighter checking and the physicality. He is getting more comfortable with it, as we’ve talked about. People are paying more attention to him, so that’s just going to make more people on the ice open and available for those great, little plays that he makes. Not only does he have the big cannon, but he does make great, little plays in small areas. So he is coming along great, and he’s a competitor. When things don’t go well on the power play, he comes off the bench and slams the door because he’s frustrated because he wants to make something happen all the time.

It’s more of the same from Richardson, but illustrates that the adaptation phase for Silfverberg seems to be ending.

-Richardson then talked about Stephane Da Costa:

He had a little bit of an illness at the summer that held him back. He had a little medical procedure that just kind of slowed him down in preparing for camp. So when he came into camp, he was a little bit… not out of shape but not in top shape. I think that hampered him in the fitness testing and it wore on his body and he had a bit of a sore back because of that. In his first game back after that, after missing a few games at the start of the year, he got slashed on his baby finger and that split open and he broke the tip of it. So that was very sore, especially when the centerman takes draws, for a while. And then in his first game back from that, he had a great game in Norfolk and in the next game, he flew into the boards and hurt his knee. So then he just had a rough start; very frustrated. His body was beaten up and he was very down on himself. We took him right out. We gave him a week of just gym exercises to build up his body. And then he skated all last week and to his credit, we challenged him to work hard and push himself and build his body and he did that. He had a smile on his face all last week. He didn’t get into the game on Friday because we had a healthy lineup. We dressed him in warmup and he still had a great attitude and worked his butt off every day. He got in there Sunday and just continued to work hard and things went well with Shane Prince. It really clicked and they got off to a good start in the game; they were one of our best forechecking lines and he got rewarded with three goals and an assist that game. He was the game’s first star, I believe. He just looked engaged. He’s a special player and he makes very good plays – not just scoring goals but he can really find people. He has great vision. If he can continue to build his body, because he’s not a big guy, but play in a big man’s league in big games over here on smaller ice surfaces, he will continue to grow and get better because of his talents. He just has to make sure that he keeps up that drive, that inner drive and the compete level. And he’s proving that right now, so we just have to make sure that we remind him every day to continue to build on that.

A big info dump from Richardson, but it provides context to Da Costa‘s slow start.

-Richardson moved on to Mika Zibanejad:

He just had his four wisdom teeth out last week and a throat infection, so that put him on the sidelines for the weekend, last weekend. But other than that, he’s on the mend and hopefully he’s back in the lineup in the next game or two. He’s doing really well on the smaller ice surface. We have tried him on the wing. We have had him at center and he’s very versatile. He kills penalties very well and he’s starting to get engaged and use his body a little more. But we’re just trying to get him skating and getting used to skating into areas where maybe he doesn’t get enough room because it is a different dimension to look at out there on that smaller ice surface. But just feeling myself, I didn’t really have much input into it. I just gave my opinion in that I think that he’s coming along fine and if you send him over there for two weeks to a month for the world juniors, then you’re right back onto the bigger ice surface again. You’re holding onto the puck too long. You’re skating to the wrong areas and looping in the neutral zone. It’s not the same style as it is here, so when he comes back, you’re starting all over again at the adjustment stage. If you’re making a commitment and hopefully the lockout comes to an end soon, the intentions of Ottawa is to develop and keep developing here in this type of game – the North American game and the North American ice size – and give him a real chance to vie for a roster spot when the lockout ends or soon after. So that was the thought process and it kind of makes sense to me.

The message boils down Zibanejad not yet adjusting to the North American style and Richardson wants the team to spend with him to get him there (the focus seems to be in timing and offensive positioning).

Finally, Richardson talked about Patrick Wiercioch:

He came to training camp in great shape. He suffered an injury during training camp, but he has come back strong at the time Jared Cowen left us. He really knew how to seize this opportunity. He plays more than often with Andre Benoit. Because he has improved defensively, we’re not afraid to use him in crucial situations. He had to improve defensively to play in the NHL. In Ottawa, he knows he will never be the number one offensive defenseman.

The refrain about Wiercioch all season is praising his conditioning and how much that comes into play with his ability to perform.

-Elmira plays Reading (14-7-1) tonight; the Royals are lead by Denny Urban and David Marshall (20 points each) and backstopped by Philipp Grubauer (11-4-0).

-Speaking of Elmira, Danny New has been placed on the 21-day IR.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)



  1. Good to hear that Wiercioch is becoming a two-way defenseman. I have always rooted for him and this past summer he finally got serious about working out.

    I hope he continues his good season so far and competes for a bottom pairing role next yr in Ottawa (if there is a season)

    • The positive I take away from the comment is that he has all the tools, he just needed to make the dedication to his conditioning–it means we’ll see just how good he can be.

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