Senators News: December 12th

-Binghamton plays Syracuse (14-6-3) tonight; the Crunch are lead by Tyler Johnson (25 points) and backstopped by Dustin Tokarski (8-4-2 2.45 .903).  The B-Sens defeated the Crunch 5-2 last Monday which was the scene of Borowiecki‘s mugging by Eric Neilson.

-Binghamton has recalled Ben Blood from Elmira, which makes me think Mark Borowiecki isn’t ready to play.  Blood will likely take Wideman‘s spot in the lineup.

Luke Richardson reflected on Binghamton’s last game:

We still had a pretty good effort on Saturday; just things just weren’t bouncing our way and then once we got behind, you could see maybe a little fatigue setting in with the second game in two nights. Norfolk were fresh and they have been struggling of late, so they were really pushing it and skating well that night. It seemed like we were chasing it a little bit that night and it wasn’t to be. It would have been nice to get that (tenth win in a row) but we’re pretty proud of how the guys have been playing and even that night, it was a good effort; just not the (right) result.

And that’s just it: the effort is what really matters in a developmental league, not the results.

-He also talked about Stephane Da Costa:

We talked about his fitness level and building his body up – not just to play at this level, but for the next level because he has the (NHL) skillset. He really took it to heart and he was coming in in the morning at 7 am and riding the bike with the trainer and myself when he was injured. Then he was doing it again on game nights, so he was really working hard. And then Steve Stirling was looking after some extra skating after practice when he made his way back; so he really took the fitness up a little bit. We saw the results right away – in his first game back, he had four points with a hat-trick. In his last game, just with his skill alone in his last game that he had, I think he created two breakaways for himself and just missed. He just could not finish them off. He probably had at least four scoring chances himself in the second period; which was great to see. We would have loved to see him finish those off, but he is an offensively gifted guy that can do that and break open a game at any level. He really has great passing skills and he’s not a big guy, but some guys just have that knack for shooting the puck. And he can really rip the puck. I think it was his third goal against Syracuse last weekend when he had a cross-ice pass and before the goalie could get across (the crease), (the puck) was in and out. You love to see that talent and sometimes you get frustrated that he does not use the shot more often, but he is working on when he should use that and when he should use those passing skills. He is coming along and coming back from injury, we had him on a line with Shane Prince for a while and they were working well. But we thought that we would juggle it up after a loss and get him back in a spot where we think and predict that he should be, and that is with (Jakob) Silfverberg and Mike Hoffman to see if those three talented guys can get clicking and put some goals in the net.

That combination (Hoffman-Da Costa-Silfverberg) should be a good unit whenever it gets put together.  Conditioning is the refrain for Da Costa and I think it’s clear he understands its importance now.

-Finally, Richardson spoke again about Robin Lehner:

Well, he’s been our best player from training camp til this point. And now we have Ben Bishop going as well. Both of them are probably the top tandem in the league. I can’t see anybody any different. Robin, I’ve known him for a few years now, and he’s a great competitor. I think over the first couple of years, he has had some high highs and some lows. He has been a Calder Cup champion and the MVP of that run and there has been some times where with injury to himself, I think he has had some learning curves being in proper condition and different types of condition. And also, with injuries to the Ottawa Senators goaltending, which brings him out of his development – coming up and sitting around and practicing a bit but not playing a lot with the big club. And then back-and-forth and up-and-down. You know you’re young and there is a starter, that plays on the psyche a bit. So he has really matured over the last few years and this year, he’s been confident and steady. He has been the competitor that he always is and he wants to win every night. He’s a leader in the dressing room and sometimes, that’s rare for a goaltender. Usually on game days, they want to stay on their own page, quiet and out of the way and just focus on their thing… Whereas he can do that and be a supporter of the guys – at timeouts, he’s encouraging his teammates. He’s a leader in the dressing room. He always knows what’s going on and caring about his teammates. He is the full package and he is what the Ottawa Senators thought he was when they drafted him. After a couple of years in the minor leagues with the ups and downs of the and the learning, especially at that position, it’s a tough position, and he’s come in at camp and he said he was going to be focused and ready and in top, and he still is. He has done exactly what he said he was going to do and what was expected of him this year. And we’re benefitting from it down in Binghamton because we have great goaltending.

I’m glad Richardson raised the point of how much being called up to Ottawa over and over as a young player messed with Lehner‘s head.  I thought it was a particularly bad choice by the organisation to decide a finished Alex Auld would be the NHL back-up even though Lehner was clearly a better goaltender.  Regardless, everything this season indicates that Lehner is ready to deal with whatever the franchise wants him to do.

-There are other comments from Richardson via the link above, but they echo his previous sentiments so I haven’t repeated them.

Eric Macramalla goes through the legal in’s and out’s of decertification/disclaimer of interest for the NHLPA, which I think is about as likely to happen as me being run over by a truck in my bedroom (Eric essentially comes to the same conclusion).

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)