Senators News: December 20th; Binghamton 4, Wilkes-Barre 3

-Binghamton overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat Wilkes-Barre 4-3 last night, in a game I was not able to watch.  Jakob Silfverberg began the comeback, with Shane Prince scoring twice (including the winner) and Jean-Gabriel Pageau tying the game with the first goal of his professional career.  Robin Lehner made 36 saves for the victory; here are the highlights.

Tim Murray talked about Stefan Noesen missing the WJC:

I have talked to his representatives about it. I have not talked to the kid personally. It’s too bad for him and I think it could have been handled a couple of different ways, but it wasn’t and it’s not me handling it, so he’ll get over it and it won’t have any bearing on what he is as a pro. Obviously, he’s disappointed, but we’ll move on.

Then he talked about Mikael Wikstrand:

I don’t think with a seventh round pick that you can have any expectations. All your hope is that he can get bigger, stronger, and better. He came over to development camp and he looked like a player. I went to Lake Placid in the summertime to watch him at their unofficial World Junior tryouts against the US team and the Finns, and I have to be honest, he didn’t play very well there. So no, we have no expectations (for him). As the season got going over there and all of the reports coming back were just outstanding as far as: his ability with the puck; his offensive ability and he’s kind of a shootout specialist there also, so that’s a different thing then… we certainly weren’t drafting a Swedish defenceman for that so yeah, it has been a pleasant surprise. In saying that, our guys that saw him a lot and liked him, there was a reason why they liked him – they saw a raw player with very good offensive ability and the ability to move the puck and kind of fits into what the new NHL looks like today. If he continues to improve, we’ve just put another asset or prospect into the system.

That’s the funny thing about Wikstrand; he was drafted as a safe, reliable defenseman, but this season his offense is what’s making waves.  It’s hard to say how that production will translate at higher levels, but it’s an unexpected bonus for the player and the organisation.

About Patrick Wiercioch:

With the way that he’s playing right now, he’s right there. If we had a training camp and he comes up, it wouldn’t be this year based on play but maybe this year based on need (there may be room). We’ve got a couple of injuries with Jared (Cowen) and that, so I think he’s real close. I think he’ll be a better player in the National Hockey League. I think he’s a cerebral player and he sees the ice really well. He gets up in the play and he does some things that we like as an organization; that Paul (MacLean) likes as a coach. I always say about young guys to start, you put them on a team and they don’t help you lose and then they get better and better, and then they help you win. And I think that he is, at least, in that first category in that he plays a lot and he doesn’t help you lose. And I think it just moves on from there. He’s not going to make many mistakes in the National Hockey League with the way that he plays. With his length, he gets that stick out in front of him defensively… The way I talk about a defenceman, (an offensive player) has to beat the stick first. They beat the stick, then they have to beat the body. (Wiercioch’s) stick is so long, it’s going to be a tough go for a forward. He’s not a hard-hard guy, but he can play hard and he can finish checks. But he can go down to the back post and sneak in from the blue line. He has got a lot of different aspects to his game that you can like. Going back to what Jason (York) said about training camp, I think that’s the only positive about the lockout: you’ve got Patty Wiercioch, Robin Lehner, (Andre) Benoit and guys who didn’t get cut (from NHL camp) and go back and are disappointed with their tails between their legs for the first month of the season. It was just right out of the gate, just get going here and play hard and well so that whenever we do start, whichever guy that I am talking about, they’ll be up there on the big team, so that’s the only positive here.

Murray also mentioned Eric Gryba as a potential call-up (along with Benoit, Borowiecki, and Wiercioch.  He confirmed that health was a primary reason why Mika Zibanejad was held out of the WJC.  Finally about Jakob Silfverberg:

He certainly opened his eyes the first couple of games. We had line brawls and chippy play and I think he understands that now. He is getting better every game, for sure. He’s not going to score every game but he is playing on the wing with Da Costa and Hoffman on the other wing, when that line gets going and breaks loose, they’re certainly capable of putting up big numbers any given night. It’s been a process with him and it’s completely different hockey than what he’s played his whole life and his whole career, and again, there’s another… we talk about the positives of the lockout and that, that he can go down (to the AHL) and get accustomed to the North American game without it hurting the big team. And again, he’s getting better every game.

-Elmira lost 5-4 to Trenton last night, with Cheverie taking the loss and only Louie Caporusso getting a point among B-Sen signees.

-The NHL cancelled games through January 14th, which is no surprise given the state of the negotiations, but moves the league ever close to losing yet another season.

-For those interested, Kyle Turris offered up his mea culpa about his Finnish experience.

Stu Hackel talks about the 2012 highlights for the NHL and I agree with the first round of the playoffs, the return of the Jets, and the rise of Erik Karlsson, disagree about the Kings Cup win (LA played boring hockey and there was no drama in any of their series), and the return of Ken Hitchcock.  His other picks didn’t register either way.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: December 19th

-Binghamton faces Wilkes-Barre (13-10-2) tonight in a re-match of their game on Saturday.  Beau Bennett still leads the Penguins in points (21) and backstopped by Jeff Zatkoff (10-6-0 2.00 .922).  Zatkoff was unable to play in the last game, but I’d expect him to suit up tonight if he’s healthy.  As mentioned yesterday Ben Blood was recalled by Binghamton which may mean Mark Borowiecki is still out of the lineup or that the flu bug has knocked out a different defensemen.

-Elmira plays Trenton (10-11-4) tonight; they are lead by Andy Bohmbach (24 points) and backstopped by Scott Wedgewood (7-7-2 3.00 .898).

TSN (Craig Button specifically) has put out a top-thirty list of signed prospects who have played less than 10 NHL games.  Ottawa’s Jakob Silfverberg was 16th while Mika Zibanejad was 23rd.

-We’re neck deep in the lockout and it has been interesting to see how the Sens blogosphere has held up.  Some sites have either intentionally thrown in the towel until the lockout is over (Welcome to Your Karlsson Years), flailed about with a hodgepodge of articles (The Silver Seven), or gone boss-mode and covered what there is to cover (The 6th Sens).  I can’t say I’ve found the absence of the NHL very limiting–covering the prospects of the team and looking forward to the draft provides more than enough material to keep chugging along.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: December 18th

Kyle Turris was not a fan of his experience playing in Finland, apparently unhappy with the experience (a mea culpa is expected tomorrow from Turris).  I’ve never quite understood the inability of some players to keep their mouths shut.  We all remember the storm Andre Petersson created last year in talking about life in Binghamton, but that was the error of a 20-year old new to North America, not a 23-year old pro.  I’m not sure what Turris was expecting when he signed to play in northern Finland, but hopefully he appreciates now that he’s far better off keeping negative comments to himself.

Ben Blood has been recalled by Binghamton.

-There has been precious little news of substance today, but both Elmira and Binghamton play tomorrow so there will be much more to discuss.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: December 17th

Stefan Noesen will not participate in the WJC as the IIHF chose to uphold his suspension.

-Here’s the weekly prospect update (for players with more than 10 games played I’ve indicated where they are in scoring; for blueliners they are compared to other defensemen on the team):

CHL
Cody Ceci (OHL Ottawa) 36-8-25-33 (1st)
Matt Puempel (OHL Kitchener) 26-21-7-28 (1st) (injured)
Stefan Noesen (OHL Plymouth) 26-17-9-26 (3rd) (suspended)
Jordan Fransoo (WHL Victoria) 28-2-6-8 (3rd)
Jakub Culek (QMJHL Cape Breton) 8-4-3-7 (9th)
Jarrod Maidens (OHL Owen Sound) (injured)
Chris Driedger (WHL Calgary) 18-5-3 2.22 .924
Francois Brassard (QMJHL Quebec) 18-7-3 2.51 .911

Allsvenskan (Swe)
Mikael Wikstrand (Mora) 29-9-9-18 (1st)

KHL
Nikita Filatov (Salavat) 33-8-11-19 (t-2nd)

NCAA
Ryan Dzingel (Ohio) – 18-6-8-14 (1st)
Jeff Costello (Notre Dame) – 15-5-9-14 (4th)
Bryce Aneloski (Nebraska-Omaha) – 18-3-11-14 (1st)
Max McCormick (Ohio) – 18-6-4-10 (3rd)
Michael Sdao (Princeton) – 12-3-4-7 (1st)
Tim Boyle (Union) – 7-0-2-2

USHL
Robbie Baillargeon (Indiana/Omaha) – 26-7-10-17 (t-3rd)

Stu Hackel looks at the current state of CBA negotiations and shares some dark humour from Rangers reporter Larry Brooks:

Here is the league that just over a week ago was doing everything in its power to keep Don Fehr out of the bargaining process, and is now going to court to ensure he continues to represent the players in the bargaining process. For weeks now, the NHL has sent its messengers to deliver the message the NHLPA is not truly united behind Fehr and union leadership; that the players, left to their own decision-making process, would rush to accept whatever the league at the time had on the table. Or, in another word, ‘Vote!’ Yet there in Paragraph 54 of the complaint is the NHL citing numerous examples of players articulating support for Fehr and the PA leadership which the league posits, ‘… do not suggest that the NHL players are unhappy with their Union representation [or] wish to oust current NHLPA leadership…’ Don Fehr. League can’t live with him, now the league can’t live without him.

Paragraph 102 is a good one. For months the NHL has been telling anyone [like John Shannon] who would listen that up to 18 of its franchises lose money, with many of those franchises in need of life support. For months the league has been instructing us not to confuse revenue with profits. Fair enough. But then these are the league’s own words right there in Paragraph 102: ‘The system of common employment rules [the CBA] instituted in 2005 improved the financial stability of the entire NHL, including most of its clubs…’

Most of its clubs? Really? Hmm.

What to make of the thought process behind Paragraph 62? The combination of restrictions proposed by the NHL leading into and throughout the lockout is designed to limit the impact of free agency and funnel players toward teams they might not consider given a full plate of options. Yet there is the NHL in Paragraph 62 suggesting every player in the league become a free agent if the NHLPA were permitted to disclaim or decertify. ‘[Existing] contracts …[would be] void and unenforcable by law,’ in the league’s own words. Goodbye Columbus.

If nothing else this should cement cynicism over what gets said publically about the negotiations.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: December 16th

-Binghamton players talked about the job Luke Richardson has done as their coach.  Andre Benoit said:

He works on a lot of little things with us after practice, shows us little tricks and things he knows from playing the game so long. He’s trying to give us some of that knowledge. For sure, it’s been helpful. From being a player for so long, he knows what it takes to be a good coach. He knows how to act. I think he’s made the transition really well into that role.

Patrick Wierioch said:

I think he’s huge, but I don’t think he’d take credit for it. Just the type of personality he is. He’s able to get control of the group without necessarily being too drastic about it. I think a lot of the guys just have a certain amount of respect for him. We don’t want to disappoint him. We don’t want to not work for him. He’s definitely put in his time, over the course of his career, so we kind of want to show him we can do it as well.

Eric Gryba said:

It’s awesome having him around … he’s so knowledgeable about the game, especially from a defensive defenceman’s aspect. I can ask him questions and he’s going to point things out to me that I’m not doing right, that I need to improve on. And that’s why I’m here. To develop and get better. He’s been great to this point. He might chirp guys on the ice during practice more than anybody else. He loves to get them going. Obviously, he’s adapting to the coaching role very well, but he’s still a player at heart. He loves to chirp the boys, egg them on.

Richardson himself talked about it:

Bryan [Murray]’s great, Tim [Murray]’s great and same with (Ottawa coach) Paul (MacLean), talking to him about systems. I want to keep it fairly generic, so if they are learning something here, when they go up to Ottawa it’s not totally different. Paul’s like, ‘you’ve got to know who’s on your team, and coach your team the way you have to coach your team.’ I think in saying that, I still use lots of drills that are the same, a lot of philosophies that are the same. There’s always going to be a little bit of a difference in the way people verbalize things, but I want to keep it fairly similar so the players have the best chance.

All these comments boil down to internal support for Richardson along with the respect he garners from the players he coaches.  He’s clearly on the side of his players and they understand he’s doing his best to make them better.

-Elmira defeated Trenton 5-4 last night in OT; Gazley had a four assist night while Caporusso and Downing picked up a point each among Bingo signees.  The Jackals play Reading (18-7-1) tonight.

-ISS has released their latest top-30 list for the 2013 draft (changes in brackets, the previous list can be found here):
1 – MacKinnon, Nathan – C – Halifax – QMJHL
2 – Jones, Seth – D – Portland – WHL
3 – Barkov, Aleksander – F – Tappara – FinE
4 – Drouin, Jonathan – F – Halifax – QMJHL
5 – Monahan, Sean – C – Ottawa – OHL
6 – Lindholm, Elias – C – Brynas – SweE (+4)
7 – Nichushkin, Valery – F – Chelyabinsk Chelmet – RusS (+5)
8 – Shinkaruk, Hunter – F – Medicine Hat – WHL (-1)
9 – Nurse, Darnell – D – S.S. Marie – OHL
10 – Ristolainen, Rasmus – D – TPS Turku – FinE (-2)
11 – Zadorov, Nikita – D – London – OHL (+8)
12 – Lazar, Curtis – C – Edmonton – WHL (-6)
13 – Pulock, Ryan – D – Brandon – WHL (+2)
14 – Burakowsky, Andre – F – Malmo – SweAl (-3)
15 – Dickinson, Jason – F – Guelph – OHL (-1)
16 – Santini, Steve – D – USA U18 – NTDP
17 – Hagg, Robert – D – Modo – SweJE
18 – Morrissey, JT – D – Prince Albert – WHL (+7)
19 – Erne, Adam- F – Quebec – QMJHL (-1)
20 – De La Rose, Jacob – C – Leksands – SweAl (+1)
21 – Lehkonen, Artturi – F – Kuopio – FinE (-8)
22 – Gauthier, Frederik – C – Rimouski – QMJHL (+4)
23 – Rychel, Kerby – F – Windsor – OHL (-3)
24 – Thompson, Keaton – D – USA U18 – NTDP (-2)
25 – Kujawinski, Ryan – C – Kingston – OHL (-2)
26 – Bowey, Madison – D – Kelowna – WHL (NR)
27 – Fasching, Hudson – F – USA U18 – NTDP (-3)
28 – Bailey, Justin – C – Kitchener – OHL (NR)
29 – Theodore, Shea – D – Seattle – WHL (-1)
30 – Morin, Samuel – D – Rimouski – QMJHL (NR)
Falling out of the top-30: Viktor Crus-Rydberg, J. T. Compher, and Ian McCoshen.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: December 15th; Binghamton 3, Wilkes-Barre 1

-Binghamton defeated Wilkes-Barre 3-1 last night in a game I was able to watch.  By and large the B-Sens controlled the play throughout the game and other than Ben Bishop giving up a weak goal short side in the third the Penguins were never really in it.  Hugh Jessiman, Jakob Silfverberg, and Patrick Wiercioch scored the goals and Silfverberg, Wiercioch, and Andre Benoit had two points each.

Ben Blood was re-assigned to Elmira. Dustin Gazley was re-assigned yesterday.

-Elmira defeated Orlando 4-1 last night, with Cheverie picking up the win; Downing and Caporusso picking up a point each among the Binghamton signees.

Stefan Noesen‘s suspension could prevent him from playing in the WJC for the United States.  Ken Warren reminds us that Tom Kuhnhackl missed last year’s division one WJC for similar reasons, although if the IIHF decides to honour the OHL ban US Hockey can appeal it.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: December 14th

-Binghamton plays Wilkes-Barre (13-8-2) tonight; the Penguins are lead by Beau Bennett (21 points) and backstopped by Jeff Zatkoff (10-6-0 2.00 .922).  Wilkes-Barre won the last game against Binghamton (1-0 in a shootout) over a month ago.

Bobbykelly wonders about Andre Petersson‘s slow start in Binghamton and offers two related theories: 1) perhaps his numbers in his rookie season were a reflection of protected minutes along with being on a bad team, 2) there’s more competition for minutes.  I think the first is too speculative; we know from Petersson‘s own comments last year that he was being played in all situations.  The second thought may have some validity, although I suspect health is also an issue.  All in all its speculation until Luke Richardson says something about him.

-Elmira faces Orlando (10-11-4) tonight; the Solar Bears are lead by Nick Petersen (24 points) and backstopped by John Curry (9-5-2 2.64 .911).

Pierre Dorion talked about Mikael Wikstrand:

Ya, he’s having a great year so far. Putting up numbers as a puck-moving offensive defenseman not in the top league in Sweden, but in the second league in Sweden. Their previous tournament in November he was the number one defenseman for Team Sweden, played power-play, penalty kill and regular shifts. I’d be very surprising if he didnt’ make that (WJC) team, he’s been invited to be on the team. He’s a seventh-round pick…so expectations aren’t set as high for him, but we still feel we have a pretty good prospect there. I think a lot of credit [in picking him] goes to our two European scouts, Vaclav Burda and Mikko Ruutu. Both those guys really liked Wikstrand last year, and obviosuly myself and Greg Royce had a chance to see him. But he just looked like a really smart defenseman, that made every pass on the tape, and he wasn’t flashy. It was just something that we felt was a good late gamble, and maybe we should of taken him earlier, but you know sometimes things fall into place for the right reason.

-And about Chris Driedger and Francois Brassard:

Chris was splitting time last year and he became the number one goalie on his team. He’s a big goalie who blocks pucks, a lot of pucks hit him, he makes good reads. This year he’s really been a key component, if I’m not mistaken Calgary and Edmonton are one and two in their division, and they’re two of the better teams – and Chris is a big part of that you know as an 18-year-old goalie showing that he can really carry the load, and really carry his team to being the top team in the conference, I think that says a lot about him.

I think with Francois Brassard, another situation where he was the backup last year. Now Quebec’s a really good team, and having our people talk to Patrick Roy, they’ve indictated that Patrick seems to think he’s one of the better goalies in the league if not the best goalie in the league. He’s really risen his game, and he’s still gotta get stronger, but he really competes hard, he’s a very intelligent goalie as far as being able to read the play, and getting in position, he’s gotten stronger he’s gotten quicker. He’s a quiet competitor, and probably as far as mental toughness one of the best guys I’ve seen in my scouting career how he can forget a bad goal and you know just move on from there. So, these are two guys that unfortunately we were hoping either one might get invited to the Canadian junior camp this year. But I think they are two guys who will challenge for next year’s world junior camp.

-And about the 2013 draft:

Obviously last year’s draft…we can say was an average draft as far as depth of talent. While this year’s seems to be a very good draft. I think there’s high end prospects at the top part of the draft, but I think going through the first, second and third rounds I think teams are going to see good players being taken. Guys that will be good regular NHL players as we move forward four, five years down the road. It really looks like a very good draft, the only thing this year it seems to be a bit more spread out than in other years…I’m at a game here today at a high school, you’re all over the place as compared to other years.

Stefan Noesen has been suspended for ten games after leaving his feet to hit Tyler Hore.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

Senators News: December 13th; Binghamton 3, Syracuse 4

-Binghamton lost 4-3 to Syracuse last night in a game I was able to watch (with a lot of subpar camera work from the broadcaster).  The B-Sens did not play well (firing only 18 shots), clearly suffering from the lack of Patrick Wiercioch and Mark Borowiecki on the blueline along with the flu virus that’s running through the team.  Robin Lehner wasn’t at his best, but can’t be blamed for the result.  Mike Hoffman scored twice and Mark Stone had the other goal; here are the highlights.  The main problem for the B-Sens was their structure–it was poor defensively and offensively and the team spent most of the night chasing the puck.

Ryan Kennedy decided to weigh in on the Mika Zibanejad WJC situation after the Swedish Federation has already accepted the situation.  Kennedy didn’t bother to research what was going on, because while it’s understandable he doesn’t follow The 6th Sens (where the link comes from) it’s not too much to suggest he could have found the comments included there from The Expressen directly.  What’s even less understandable is that he’s unaware that Zibanejad is hurt, but let’s put that aside and look at the logic of the column:
1. Zibanejad is struggling in the AHL
2. The WJC will rejuvenate him because it helped Devante Smith-Pelly, Brett Connolly, Brayden Schenn, and Alex Pietrangelo
The funny thing is none of Kennedy’s examples make sense (none of them were playing in the AHL, none of them are Swedes, and none of the pro’s meaningfully improved their numbers after the WJC).  I’m also at a loss to the overall logic–Zibanejad struggles on small ice against men, therefore the big ice in Russia facing teenagers is going to help him?  And what does he have left to achieve in the tournament?  So on its own merits the thought process doesn’t work, but the fact Kennedy didn’t bother to research the issue is the kind of lazy journalism that irks me.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)

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)

Senators News: December 11th

-Here’s my look at Binghamton over the last ten games.

Scott Cruickshank writes about Sens prospect Chris Driedger, with the goaltender saying:

Last year, I would have a really good couple games, then a really bad couple  games, then one good game, then one bad game. Now I’m just trying to prepare for each game the exact same every day. It seems to be working. Kind of cool to get recognized publicly [WHL goaltender of the month for November]. It’s nice to see that a little hard work has paid off. Then again, you have to  give a lot of credit to the team. Right now I’ve been very happy with how the games are working out. If the defencemen keep the shots from the outside, it’s going to make you  look a lot better — and our defencemen have been doing a phenomenal job of it.  My stats have been looking pretty good . . . the most goals we’ve given up in  the last month and a half is four. Hopefully, we can keep winning.

His coach Mike Williamson said:

He showed signs of being a top, top goalie last year, but he had a tough time  sustaining a high level. We felt it was an experience,  maturity thing. He’s done a better job of preparing and practising harder.  Because of that, he’s had a lot of success.

-Here’s the weekly prospect update (for players with more than 10 games played I’ve indicated where they are in scoring; for blueliners they are compared to other defensemen on the team):

CHL
Cody Ceci (OHL Ottawa) 33-7-24-31 (1st)
Matt Puempel (OHL Kitchener) 26-21-7-28 (1st) (injured)
Stefan Noesen (OHL Plymouth) 26-17-9-26 (3rd)
Jordan Fransoo (WHL Victoria) 25-2-6-8 (t-2nd)
Jakub Culek (QMJHL Cape Breton) 8-4-3-7 (9th)
Jarrod Maidens (OHL Owen Sound) (injured)
Chris Driedger (WHL Calgary) 16-5-2 2.29 .922
Francois Brassard (QMJHL Quebec) 17-7-1 2.48 .913

Allsvenskan (Swe)
Mikael Wikstrand (Mora) 29-9-9-18 (1st)

KHL
Nikita Filatov (Salavat) 33-8-11-19 (t-2nd)

NCAA
Ryan Dzingel (Ohio) – 16-6-8-14 (1st)
Jeff Costello (Notre Dame) – 14-5-7-12 (5th)
Bryce Aneloski (Nebraska-Omaha) – 16-3-9-12 (t-1st)
Max McCormick (Ohio) – 16-5-4-9 (3rd)
Michael Sdao (Princeton) – 12-3-4-7 (1st)
Tim Boyle (Union) – 7-0-2-2

USHL
Robbie Baillargeon (Indiana) – 23-6-9-15 (5th)

Varada shows us what sports journalism should look like as he explores NHL economic issues (in contrast to John Shannon‘s nonsense from yesterday) and I encourage you all to check it out (it’s basic stuff about the value of owning an arena, but it’s little discussed in hockey circles).

Stu Hackel reviews the latest CBA developments without suggesting which way the worm will turn.  Given that there’s still plenty of time left for a deal I think that’s only sensible.

This article is written by Peter Levi (@eyeonthesens)